| Wing Commander Manjit Singh Sidhu (22334) Flying (Pilot) is posted to a Helicopter Unit and has been flying as captain of No. 3 helicopter in the 'Sarang' helicopter display team. On 27 Feb 10, Wg Cdr Sidhu was detailed to fly as Sarang 3 during a practice display for Vayu Shakti 2010 at Pokharan. The display was uneventful till the formation was rejoining for the final manoeuvre. As Sarang 3 and Sarang 4 approached the Grand Stand for a final split, Sarang 3 experienced a sudden sink of the helicopter, without any change in engine parameters. Wg Cdr Sidhu immediately handed over controls to the co-pilot to check for collective response, which was not there. He took over controls and correctly gauged the emergency as failure of the collective pitch system. This emergency is potentially catastrophic and the recovery actions have not been specified even by the manufacturer. In the 30 seconds, before the helicopter impacted the ground with no control on Rate of Descent, he gave an R/T call to caution other formation members and turned the helicopter away from the Grand Stand. With exceptional flying skill, he controlled the helicopter with help of cyclic and rudders only and selected a flat spot to touch down, in an otherwise undulating terrain. The helicopter impacted the ground with near level attitude and minimum forward speed thus avoiding toppling and with minimum damage of the helicopter. A quick switch off was carried out after landing and the crew exited the helicopter safely. Wg Cdr Sidhu displayed an exceptional degree of professionalism and courage when faced with an extraordinary emergency situation. His immense presence of mind and superior flying skills not only saved the lives of the aircrew on board but also recovered the helicopter with minimum damage. By turning away from the Grand stand he also saved lives of hundreds of people who had gathered to witness the display. The highly professionally executed "Forced Landing" also helped in investigations to resolve the cause of the incident. For this act of exceptional courage and handling an unparalleled emergency, Hon'ble President is pleased to award Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)' to Wing Commander Manjit Singh Sidhu.