Bengaluru-based institute to certify Wing Commander Abhinandan before resuming combat flying

After his release from Pakistan, Abhinandan had a brief meeting with his family before he was taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi, for medical examination.

Published: 03rd March 2019 12:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2019 12:07 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Air Force IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as he is released by Pakistan authorities at Wagah border on the Pakistani side March 1 (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who returned to India late on Friday night after crossing the Wagah-Attari, will have to undergo a check-up at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) in Bengaluru before he can resume flying duties again.

"All fighter pilots have to maintain a certain fitness level, designated as A1G1, which means they are fully fit for airborne and ground operations. Once a pilot has been in a crash or any other incident which might affect their fitness levels, they will have to undergo a check-up at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM). If he manages to get back the A1G1 grade and injuries to his spine do not prevent him from flying fighter jets, he can return to active fighter pilot duty," a senior Air Force official explained.

After his release from Pakistan, Abhinandan had a brief meeting with his family before he was taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi, for medical examination.

The fighter pilot was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 when the MiG-21 Bison he was piloting, went down during an engagement with PAF jets.

ALSO READ: Wing Commander Abhinandan subjected to mental harassment during his captivity in Pakistan: IAF

According to senior IAF officials, the pilot was sent to AFCME for a preliminary medical examination to ascertain his medical condition after having ejected from the aircraft and landed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

These tests will look at his state of mind as well as his physical injuries before he is discharged. Officials, however, expressed hope that he would return to flying eventually.

At the IAM, Wing Commander Abhinandan, as well as Wing Commander Vijay Shelke and Squadron Leader Tejeshwar Singh, the two Surya Kiran pilots who were injured in the mid-air collision ahead of Aero India, will undergo tests to determine their response to G force or gravitational force as well as a decompression chamber test which will test their reaction to sudden changes in altitude.

All fighter pilots are required to regularly visit the facility for routine check-ups.

"There have been pilots who have returned to flying fighter jets in the past and it is quite possible that these pilots will be able to return as well. However, the only cause for worry is the possible damage to their spinal column, which needs to be examined in detail," the Air Force official said.

However, it might take some time for Wing Commander Abhinandan to visit the city for these tests as initially, the IAF will focus on assessing his immediate medical condition.

In the past, fighter pilots who have ejected from their aircraft, have also been assigned flying duties with transport aircraft or helicopters, keeping in mind the physical stress that flying fighter jets can have on the human body.

However, only full medical tests will be able to determine the next move for Wing Commander Abhinandan.

Spinal fractures common: Study

  • According to a study carried out by Air Commodore (retd) Harish Malik in 2007, ejection from an aircraft most commonly resulted in a compression fracture of the spine, especially in the thoracolumbar region.

  • After ejection, the IAF will look at the symptoms displayed by the pilot, neurological deficits, range of axial movements, stability of the fracture, if any, and MRI findings.

  • Discussing the ejection procedure, he says that forces between 12 to 20 Gs are produced during the process, for up to 500 milliseconds which act primarily in the long axis of the spine, causing the seat to move upward.

  • "Many factors, like the total weight of the occupant seat assembly, the attitude of the pilot’s body in relation to the seat, relative airspeed at the time of ejection and the altitude of ejection, determine the actual value of the force that an ejection seat will produce and, in turn, the nature and severity of injury to the spine," the study states.


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  • Upendra

    Real hero
    3 years ago reply
  • Anil Kashyap

    Mera riyal hero abhinandan
    3 years ago reply
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