Sqn Ldr Diwakar Dattatraya Kulkarni is on the posted strength of MiG Operational Flying Training Unit (MOFTU) since 22 Jun 87.
On 17 Jan 90, he was leading a four aircraft low level strike in a Type-77 aircraft. Approximately 75 Kilometers from base, he ordered a controlled scatter manoeuvre. For this, the formation engaged reheat and turned 30Ã‚Â°, accelerating to 1000 IAS. At 1000 IAS Sqn Ldr Kulkarni switched off reheat and noticed his fire warning light on. He immediately gave a call and eased up in a climbing turn towards base. As his speed dropped to 500 IAS Sqn Ldr Kulkarni operated the fire extinguisher but the fire warning light continued to illuminate. He climbed to three kilometers to level out below cloud. In the climb, he also noticed his main hydraulic warning light coming on and pressure reading 50 Kg/cm2. As a precaution, he switched off his aileron booster and auto pilot and noticed that his JPT/rpm were normal indicating that the jet nozzle had closed. Approaching overhead base, at height, he lowered his undercarriage on emergency. The cone did not retract and remained at 95%. He attempted to retract the cone manually but was unsuccessful as the main hydraulic pressure was now 30 Kg/cm2. Sqn Ldr Kulakarni then correctly elected to carry out a descending circuit. He made a flapless approach, landed safely and switched off on landing.
For his cool professionalism and undaunted courage in the face of a serious and complex emergency, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr Kulkarni.