| Wing Commander Ajay Koul (19960) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of Air Force Station Jaisalmer since 12 May 2008. On 26 March 2009, he authorised himself to fly a bird reconnaissance and handling sortie on Streak Shadow Microlight aircraft (ac). The sortie was uneventful till 1751 hours. He was flying at 1000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) and holding about seven kilometers from the airfield, for recovery of fighters. While flying he sensed a sudden increase in the engine vibrations. He immediately reduced throttle setting and commenced a turn towards the base. The vibration reduced as he brought down the engine revolutions per minute (RPM) to 2000, he put the ac in a glide and looked around for a force landing field should the contingency arise. On ensuring engine parameters were within limits, he smoothly opened throttle till 3500 RPM. At this stage there was a loud thud and the engine failed. The height at this stage was inadequate to make an approach and landing for runway. He analysed the situation quickly and planned for a forced landing. Despite being distracted by another loud banging noise from the engine, he retained his composure and identified a relatively safe field clear of habitation, trees and poles for landing. He landed the aircraft (ac) on flat but rocky terrain and controlled the aircraft skillfully after landing and ensured that there was minimum damage to the ac, no injury to himself or any loss of life or property to civil population. He thereafter contacted the Air Traffic Services and helped to guide the Search and Rescue helicopter to the accident site. Wing Commander Ajay Koul has been a professional and keen fighter pilot with 2377 Hrs of incident/accident free flying on MiG 21/27 ac throughout. His presence of mind and prompt analysis of the emergency is indeed praiseworthy. At the height of 1000 ft AGL, a pilot in a situation of engine failure has very little time to react. The ac with an engine failure loses height very rapidly. His gallant action not only saved a valuable ac but many lives, had the ac crashed in a habited area. There have been very few successful force landings with a failed engine in the past. For this act of exceptional gallantry, exceptional flying skills, quick and correct decision making while handling a complex emergency in the air in saving a valuable aircraft without any damage to civil or service property, Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Ajay Koul.