Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda (21026) Flying (Pilot) was authorised to fly an air test sortie on 04 Aug 98 on fighter aircraft. During the descent from 11 Km at 6.5 Km he experienced a loud bang and ducked down instinctively. Soon he realised that the right side upper bubble of the canopy had shattered and he had been hit by a chunk on Perspex on his head. He quickly throttled back to idling rpm and descended to 2 Km with airbrakes out, simultaneously dropping speed to 400 Km/h IAS. During the descent he realised that his visor had broken free, there was blood on his shoulder and blood splattered on the rear view mirror which had also been shattered. He had suffered deep cuts on his cheek and forehead and the bleeding was obscuring his vision. Due to the high noise level in the cockpit, R/T was ineffective, necessitating a U/S R/T recovery. To obviate further injury from loose corners of the shattered canopy he attempted to jettison it, which failed to lift free from the railing. During the base leg turn the canopy finally lifted free and a safe landing was made.
Squadron Leader C Sharda has displayed a high degree of courage and acted gallantly with a composed frame of mind even in an injured state, thereby saving a valuable aircraft.
For devotion to duty in recovering the aircraft in a difficult situation, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Chandan Sharda.