On 9th November 1960, Flt. Lt. R.K. Mehta was detailed to fly a Gnat aircraft. While coming in to land at Palam airfield his engine flamed out due to a bird entering the intake. Though the engine had flamed out at a low height, Flt. Lt. Mehta did not abandon the aircraft but proceeded to attempt a landing fully aware of the risk to his life. He was not, however, able to make a safe landing and died instantaneously as a result of belated ejection.
Flt. Lt. Mehta was an experienced pilot and he was fully familiar with the Gnat aircraft. He faced the emergency with a remarkable degree of calmness and courage and did not even spare his life in his attempt to save his valuable aircraft. This selfless act of Flt. Lt. Mehta, his devotion to duty and personal courage were in the highest traditions of the Air Force.