A fatal aircraft crash in Assam claimed the lives of two young pilots including Wing Commander Dushyant Vats who had recently been featured in an up close and personal video sharing his love and passion for aircraft. In the video, posted on 2 February on the official Indian Air Force YouTube channel, the deceased Wing Commander talks about one of the wonders of the modern age – light utility helicopter called ‘Cheetah’.
On 15 February, minutes after the Virus SW80 microlight aircraft took off on a routine sortie from the Jorhat air base, the plane crashed in the river island near Assam’s Majuli region.
Late pilot D Vats had been flying the Cheetah, the light utility helicopter of the Air Force, since January 2004. In the now viral video, Vats features along with flight lieutenant Rishineet Singh Thakur giving an insight into Cheetah, a highly manoeuvrable machine of the IAF.
The Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are lifelines of troops in high-altitude areas, including the Siachen glacier. The helicopter is a versatile, multi role, multipurpose lifeline for many.
In the video, he talks about the lightest helicopter in IAF’s inventory being known for its remarkable ability to fit into the smallest of spaces, including a matchbox sized helipad.
Known for its robust features, the aircraft, designed by the French, was known as the ‘Lama’ till 1960s and 1980s. It has now come to be known as Alouette IV.
In the video, Vats shares interesting facets about the aircraft. Interestingly, just as most aircrafts’ names have been inferred from the names of animals, Greek Gods, ancient heroes and planets, the ‘Cheetah’ chopper has also been derived the same way.
“These helicopters have been flying since a century and will hopefully see another decade,” said the late pilot, lauding the wonder machine’s longevity in the aviation industry.
A look at the aircrafts flying in the sky makes him reminisce his childhood, he shares. “Follow your dream, follow your heart and discover your passion,” were the last words of the daredevil aviator in the video.
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