On the 4th of June, 1960, Suqadron Leader Ayappan Sudhakaran was carrying out a test flight in a Gnat aircraft Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the only one of its kind in India Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which was fully instrumented when the engine flamed out at low altitude. He could have abandoned the aircraft and saved his own life but decided to save the aircraft by attempting a forced-landing. In this gallant attempt he lost his life.
Squadron Leader Ayappan Sudhakaran had been a test pilot for nearly three years at Kanpur during which period he made numerous test flights in which he faced great risk to his life and displayed outstanding flying ability and technical knowledge of a very high order. In this incident in which he lost his life he showed courage, devotion to duty and determination in the highest traditions of the Air Force.