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President Confers Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Flight Lieutenant Siddharth Chopra
Flight Lieutenant Siddharth Chopra, an AN-32 Pilot was tasked with a Free-fall Para drop sortie for the Akash Ganga Skydiving Team with the onlookers in huge attendance. On opening the ramp for the drop at 8000 , one pressure door bracket was found broken. With the ramp open he completed the drop and decided to land back at Barrackpore (with the Ramp Open) to prevent any further damage to the aircraft. In this situation, any harsh manoeuvres would severely endanger the safety of the aircraft and lives on board. The delicate condition of the aircraft and the necessity to land with the ramp open along with the prevailing strong winds , turbulent conditions, short runway at Barrackpore and tall trees on approach demanded extreme caution and piloting skills to execute a safe landing. The pilot was compelled to land the aircraft with a steeper approach perspective with 38 degree flaps which is not normally practiced. Using all his piloting skills, professionalism and courage, he executed a flawless approach and carried out the stipulated three-pointer landing without any further damage to the ramp. His act of safe recovery of the aircraft ensured that the aircraft snag was rectified and further damage avoided.
Flight Lieutenant Siddharth Chopra displayed exemplary courage and decision making ability by recovering the aircraft safely from a critical emergency situation and also saved the precious lives of all its occupants with his commendable flying skills.