Flying Officer (now Flight Lieutenant) Sushil Agnihotri has been serving in an operational Squadron since December 1968. On 7th October 1969, he was detailed to fly on a Sector reconnaissance sortie. On completion of the exercise, he joined the circuit for a landing. On the downwind leg, the undercarriage did not lock down due to a total hydraulic failure. He immediately selected the flying controls to manual and lowered the underÃ‚Âcarriage with the emergency system. As he operated the flaps with the emergency system, the aircraft started a vicious roll to the left due to differential flap lowering. He tried to keep the aircraft under control, but the force required on the control column was so great that he was barely able to hold the aircraft level. He also observed that the brake accumulator pressure had gone down. He was by this time, running short of fuel. He decided to abandon the aircraft and transmitted a radio message to this effect. As he was attempting to head the aircraft in a safe direction and was gaining height to eject, he found that he could control the aircraft with only a slight and gradual loss of direction. Noticing this, he revised his decision to abandon the aircraft and decided to make one more attempt to land. The flying controls were in manual and even the aileron trimmer was not available to him. The brake pressure remained low and he was by now very short of fuel. However, he touched down right at the beginning of the runway, streamed the tail chute and shut down the engine. By judicious application of brakes, he managed to slow down the aircraft but then the brakes failed. Eventually, the aircraft went off the runway at very low speed and came to a stop without any damage.
Throughout, Flying Officer Sushil Agnihotri displayed professional skill, courage and devotion to duty.