The great war of 1971 was over and a whole slew of Air Defence pilots from the EAST were posted to the Marut fleet. They were all Flight lieutenants and were being trained by (Flying Officers), fully ops Marut pilots. During those days, the rejoin peel off and landing of the U/T ops pilot was always under scrutiny. Any slip up was known to one and all and the butt of many a good ribbing. One nice sunny morning a Two aircraft Panther formation rejoined at low level (50 feet) along Runway 23 around 450 Knots. The Leader (Flight Commander) did a whip lash peel off, went into a 5 G turn, stood the Marut on its left wing and the only time his bank and “G” came off , was when he touched down. Panther 2, U/T OPS, was equally good in the peel off and curved approach. 

Bobcat and Cheetah formations were waiting for line up.

It was later speculated that Panther 2 was under High Tension, as there were many eyes for the De-Brief. For those of us familiar with the 23 approach, you will remember a 10 feet radius. raised excreta drain pipe on the outside of the perimeter fence 90 degrees to the approach. All was well except that Panther 2 was only 150 to 200 metres behind his leader on finals with wheels down and full flaps. For some reason he disappeared under a cloud of dust and excreta and after a mini second emerged minus his undercarriage, still flying. He touched down smoothly on his belly on the undershoot, swung ever so gently to his right and came to a halt 97 Yards 7 Feet And 9 Inches from the beginning of the runway.

He switched off, opened his canopy and stepped out without the use of a ladder. Eight hands from the line up point were frantically waving and giving him the thumbs up! Rumour has it that Panther 2 took a bow and then a second one.The rescue team was on its way to the scene and someone actually asked to line up! The ATC officer had a sputtering fit and screamed for all and sundry to stay put and switch off.

The C.O. was a GEM and the Flight Commanders were pure Platinum.The court of inquiry commenced and mysteriously all Marut pilots who kept Blue Books annotated that they experienced a wind shear on 23 approach on many an occasion.The court concluded that it was a down draft that did the dirty deed and no blame was affixed to the pilot. It was the fault of the WIND GOD. The A O C (Kan Sing), did not concur  and asked for a recount. Panther 2 had, however, flown the coop to commence FIS training in Tambaram. He came back, more nilly than willy, for the recount. Once again the draft (not the beer) was blamed. He went back safe. The A O C smelled a rat and moved his office to the Tower and monitored all approaches of the Marut Fleet. Any approach below 5 DEGREES (Not the Pop Group) was asked to go around. All aircraft had to re-join with enough gas for three to four overshoots. One Platinum Flight Commander explained his theory of why a 5 degree approach was not feasible and was asked to join the A O C in the tower for a month.

Two pilots, Flying Officers and Squadron Air Test Pilots (SATP’S), claimed that they had done some research and trials and projected their findings for a 5 degree approach. Turn finals at circuit height with undercarriage down and flaps to  Take Off and Speed 250 Kts. As the landing dumbbell disappears under the nose, lower the nose and dump full flaps, throttles to idle . Keep lowering the nose and maintain 200 Kts. When the seat of your pants tells you the speed is about to bleed off further, you open throttles tactically and rapidly. Round off on the dumbbell and throttle back and you will have 155 kts on the clock. We believe some Pilots did try this approach and had to visit many shrines for making it safely.

We salute the Commanding Officer and the two Flight Commanders whose goodness of heart helped Panther 2 attend the FIS course and subsequently become an A2. They broke the mold after these three were born.

There was a great excreta stink that persisted through out the country side for a month. At the time of going to the press, Panther 2 to date holds the record for a SLAM.


© Copyright Sam Sekhar and Marutfans. All rights reserved. Reproduction or distribution of this article in any form without the express written permission of the author is prohibited.


3 Responses to Sam Sekhar’s KAHANIS FROM THE MARUT HANDI – III

  1. KP Sreekant says:

    A fabulously chronicled account ;vintage Sam Sekhar stuff. Thanx Sam;thoughly enjoyed reading it and looking forward to some more.

  2. Shashi Ramdas says:

    Hat’s off to you, Sam, for a splendid and riveting account of the incident (accident????), and the fantastic attitude of the Sqn Cdr and Flt Cdrs. Those were the days, my friends ……….. !!! Yes, hats off to that trio. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
    Knowing the AOC concerned, I can picture him watching every subsequent approach and landing from the ATC, and wondering who was trying to pull the wool over his eyes!!!!
    Please keep these true life stories coming, Sam. I would love to see them compiled in a book. If you should do so, and I do hope you will for the edification of posterity, I suggest you add a few pages at the end, naming the protagonists in each of the incidents. Our children and grandchildren have a right to know the names of these stalwarts who made the Marut family such a wonderful and colourful clan.

    • Dara says:

      I have Sam’s permission:

      Panther 1 Vijayan
      Panther 2 Dasu Dasgupta

      AOC Kanwar Singh

      Boss Mickey Jatar
      Flt Cd
      (ATC duty) Brian deMagry

      Cheetah Keru
      Bobcat Sam Sekhar himself

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