Wing Commander Nilanjan Biswas (18081) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of a Base Repair Depot (BRD) since 27 Sep 04 as Chief Test Pilot.
On 28 Mar 07, Wg Cdr Biswas undertook the first post production sortie on AN-32 aircraft after major overhaul. On completion of air test profile, during rejoin when the undercarriage was lowered, the port and nose wheel undercarriage locked down, however, the starboard undercarriage was stuck in the up position. All emergency actions failed to lower the starboard undercarriage. Additional actions including landing the aircraft on port wheel only and a go around were not effective.
This emergency was unprecedented in the history of AN-32 operation with the IAF. Wg Cdr Biswas did not get perturbed by such a grave emergency and decided to carry out an emergency landing on port wheel and nose wheel only. Under such a condition the aircraft could easily get out of control and crash, leading to catastrophic consequences for both the occupants as well as the aircraft. He landed the aircraft with minimal fuel and on touch down switched off the engines. On the landing roll, he controlled the aircraft in such a way that it remained on the runway for most part of the landing roll and the right wing was lowered to touch the ground only at very low speeds. Thus, the aircraft suffered minimal damage only on the starboard wing tip and rear fuselage with no damage to the engines. The damages to aircraft are repairable at site. No damages were suffered by the aero engine and the propeller of the aircraft. Throughout the flying Wg Cdr Biswas was in control of the situation and his cockpit resource management was immaculate. His professionalism and courage in handling of the emergency saved the airmen from loss of life as well as extensive damage to the aircraft.
For this act of exceptional courage, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Nilanjan Biswas.