|Sqn Ldr||Sukhmandar Singh Sidhu 10117 F(P)||Unit : No.117 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 15 Oct 77||Announced 26 Jan 78|
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On 15th October 1977, Squadron Leader Sidhu was ordered to evacuate Sir Edmund Hillary the leader of â€œOcean to sky Expeditionâ€ who was lying critically ill at the base camp located at a height 17,5000 feet above Mean Sea Level. A veteran of many causality evacuation missions, Squadron Leader Sidhu could easily comprehend the gravity of the situation. He planned his mission immaculately, got airborne and spotted snow covered gorge on which Sir Edmund Hillary was perched, would make evacuation extremely hazardous. As he adroitly maneuvered the helicopter so that it was inches above the ground, loose and scattered snow started flying all around and caused a mini blizzard. Undeterred by this, he kept the helicopter stationery by maintaining a perfect hover, at the altitude 17,5000 feet till his copilot jumped down and helped Sir Edmund Hillary into the helicopter. In this action Squadron Leader Sukhmander Singh Sidhu displayed great courage, determination and professional skill of high order.
|Reference:||Gazette of India , 8th April 1978 - No.14 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1978|
|Sqn Ldr||Gurcharan Singh Madan 10452 F(P)||Unit : No.117 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 21 Jul 81||Announced 02 Apr 82|
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On the 21st July, 1981, Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Madan (10452), Flying (Pilot) of 117 HU, was detailed as Captain to fly of Chetak Helicopter from Bareilly to Gauchar with an enroute halt at Haldwani for refueling. About 10 minutes of take off from Haldwani, his helicopter suddenly pitched up and started rolling to the right. It immediately developed severe vibrations and the control column started snatching in all directions. The severity of pitch, roll and vibrations was so great that he along with co-pilot had difficulty in retaining a grip on the control column and impossible to read the instruments. The movement of the stick was so vicious that it repeatedly hit their legs, badly lacerating them. The Helicopter was out of control and a crash was imminent.
Sqn Ldr Madan with commendable presence of mind and cool courage analysed the emergency and came to conclusion that the existing condition could only be outcome of a failure of rotor head system as had been the case with two earlier fatal accidents. He immediately decided to force land the helicopter on whatever open space he could find. With this intention, he lowered the collective pitch. By this action the vibrations reduced slightly and he could retain grip on the control column with a great effort. A marginal control of the helicopter was thus achieved. With the control of the helicopter hanging in a very delicate balance, Sqn Ldr Madan brought down the stricken helicopter to a small clearing for landing. The moment he raised the collective to cushion the landing shock, the vibration again became very severe. It was only his superlative flying skill, exemplary courage and tenacity of purpose which helped him to land helicopter with minimal damage.
In making this extremely difficult recovery of helicopter without excessive damage, Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Mann had not only saved a valuable aircraft and the lives of his co-pilot and his own but has made the investigation of the cause of this failure possible which in future will save further accidents.
Squadron Leader Gurcharan Singh Mann thus displayed exemplary courage, extremely high standard of flying skill and devotion to duty of high order.
|Reference:||Gazette of India , 10th April 1982 - No.20 - Pres/82 dated 2nd April 1982|
|Sqn Ldr||Tejinder Pal Singh Chatwal 11290 F(P)||Unit : No.117 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 25 Jul 84||Announced 26 Jan 85|
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Wing Commander Tajinder Pal Singh Chhatwal was selected to undertake an important task of air maintaining troops at very high altitude. In view of the ever changing scenario of the exercise and great urgency of supplies, Wing Commander T. S. Chhatwal commenced the mission immediately. The precision drops carried out by him speak of his professional competence. Later due to subsequent developments, the camp had to be shifted to a steep slope where the stock of supplies turned out to be very critical. Wing Commander Chhatwal had to fly 5-10 metres above the ground. Undeterred, on 25th July 1984, he continued his mission and in all 17 tons of load was free dropped at the new Camp. In another remarkable feat, Wing Commander Chhatwal flew the helicopter at altitudes higher than 5.7 kms for over an hour, while carrying out the task of filming. He flew 42 sorties in one single day airlifting more than 23 tons of load to the forward posts.
Wing Commander Tajinder Pal Singh Chhatwal thus exhibited professional competence, acumen, courage and devotion to duty of high order.
|Reference:||Gazette of India , 16th March 1985 - No.?? - Pres/85 dated 26th January 1985|
|Wg Cdr||Chekuri Mohan Rao 10561 F(P)||Unit : No.117 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 26 Feb 89||Announced 26 Jan 90|
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In February, 1989 Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao was called upon to launch a mission to rescue twelve casualties belonging to Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) from Bara-Lacha-La, who were involved in a serious avalanches in snow-bound areas. Wing Cdr Rao detailed himself to under take this difficult mission and lead a section of two Cheetah helicopters for the rescue operations. On the 26th February, 1989, displaying exceptional skill and consummate courage, he crossed Rohtang pass in extremely turbulent weather and landed successfully on the small and snow covered helped at Bara-Lacha-La at an altitude of 16000 feet and evacuated three SASE causalities to Manali. After refueling and unmindful of his personal safety he took off again and landed at Bara-Lacha-La in marginal weather. On the return flight Wg Cdr Rao had on board his co-pilot and three SASE (Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment) casualties. Shortly after getting airborne from Bara-Lacha-La, his helicopter developed sever vibrations and aircraft became almost uncontrollable. It was a grave aircraft emergency aggravated by poor visibility and marginal weather. Using his extraordinary flying skills, he managed to guide the virtually uncontrollable aircraft towards the only available small flattish piece of land on a hill slope. Displaying tremendous courage he managed to turn the helicopter during the last stages of force landing in such a manner that he personally took the major brunt of impact with the hill slope. While all the other occupants survived, Wg Cdr Rao sustained serious injuries and after surviving 12 hours into the sub-zero and treacherous climatic conditions at that high altitude, he succumbed to his injuries.
Wing Commander Chekuri Mohan Rao demonstrated courage and devotion to duty of a very high order and made the supreme sacrifice of his life in the finest tradition of the Air Force.
|Reference:||Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.34 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990|
|Sqn Ldr||Mohammed Shahjahan Mohammed Naseer 17012 F(P)||Unit : No.117 Helicopter Unit||Award Date 27 Nov 97||Announced 15 Aug 98|
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Squadron Leader Mohamed Shajahan Mohamed Nasser (17012) Flying (Pilot) is on the posted strength of 117 Helicopters Unit, Air Force and is performing the duties of Flight Commander since 31 Mar 97.
On the evening of 27 Nov 97 Squadron Leader Nasser was called upon to search and rescue three Snow and Avalanche study Establishment personnel from the snow bound Solang-Beas Kund area. Despite fading light conditions, he located the ground search party along with the lone survivor in an unconscious state. He landed the helicopter in extremely difficult snow bound conditions close to a steep slope. However, due to extremely difficult ground conditions and approaching darkness the ground party could not bring the casualty to the helicopter. Squadron Leader Nasser returned with the first light on the following morning and rescued the lone survivor by hovering over the soft snow with only one skid in ground contact. In subsequent two stories he brought the exhausted ground rescue team members and two dead bodies.
Squadron Leader Mohamed Shajahan Mohamed Nasser thus, displayed exceptional courage and professionalism in the face of highly challenging environment, regardless of his personal safety.
|Reference:||Notification No. 114-Pres/98 dated 15th August, 1998 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 23rd January, 1999.|