By Daboo Dewan
I want to recount one of my experiences during my flying days in the Gnat.My name is Daboo Dewan and I opted to leave service prematurely in 1981.I had the privelage of flying the Gnat from 1972 through 1977 at 21,9 and 15 squadrons.During my conversion at 21 squadron in Gorakhpur I was on a training sortie 1 vs 1 combat and my leader was then Flt Lt Gujral.Whilst we were carrying out manouevers at 30000 feet at slow speeds I mishandled the aircraft and entered into a spin.I relayed this on the RT and my leader immediately spotted me even though I was loosing height rapidly. He instructed me in great clarity all the measures we were taught to counter the spin ,however I was frozen on the controls and cannot recollect whether I carried out his instructions explicitly though I presume I must have as I wouldnt be alive today.He was in constant visual and RT contact with me and asked me to eject when I had descended to 10000 feet.It was precisely at that moment that the aircraft recovered from the spin and I finally leveled out at 3000 feet.
On landing and reaching the crew room I was scared out of my wits but needless to say the squadron made sure that I flew the very next day to ensure I did not suffer from lack of confidence.The recovery from the spin was totally attributable to the professional manner in which my leader handled the situation rather than any skill on my part.I have lost touch with Gujral sir however I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for saving my life and I would appreciate if anyone can give me his contact.I would also be keen to learn from anyone else their experience of spinning this aircraft .
Even though I have been on civvy street for over 25 years We have been rather fortunate to have been in touch with a number of people from the airforce days.The reunion at Bangalore on 21st November will be a once in a lifetime event and I regret that I will not be able to attend due to a prior commitment of visiting our son overseas .
On behalf of my wife Meera and me I want to convey our best wishes to the entire Gnat brotherhood