Sqn Ldr Santosh Suresh Kothari is on the posted strength of Helicopter Training School (HTS) as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) since Jan 92.
On 11 Sep 92, Sqn Ldr Kothari was detailed for an instructional sortie on Chetak Helicopter with a Flight Cadet who was in his ab-initio training stage. The first exercise was a quick stop over the taxy track. The Flt Cdr executed the exercise with Sqn Ldr Kothari flowing on the controls. As the Helicopter was maneuvered to a hover after the exer cise, a sudden and vicious yaw to the left developed. Within a matter of a few seconds, the helicopter rotated on its vertical axis 3 to 4 times, indicating a tail rotor failure. Sqn Ldr Kothari, despite the sudden and vicious rotation, took over the controls and executed an immediate landing. The actions taken by him under these trying circumstances were prompt and correct. Tail rotor failure is a very critical emergency in a single rotor helicopter. In such an eventuality the helicopter rotates viciously without any control. If the pilot had not acted promptly in the correct manner, it would have culminated into total destruction of the helicopter and the loss of invaluable lives. The control of emergency in a most professional and cool manner by the pilot averted a major accident.
For his act of courage and airmanship of exceptional order, the President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal to Sqn Ldr SS Kothari.