VELLORE: Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral R K Pattanaik, AVSM, YSM, awarded ‘wings’ to 10 pilots - eight naval and two coast guard pilots at the passing-out parade held at the 83rd Helicopter Conversion Course at Naval Air Station (NAS), INS Rajali, in Arakkonam on Saturday.
Vice Admiral Pattanaik also awarded ‘The Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy’, for the best all-round trainee pilot and a book prize, for standing first in ground subjects to Himanshu Kukreja and awarded ‘The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy’ for the trainee pilot standing first in order of merit in flying, to Praffur Kishor Itape.
Speaking on the occasion, Pattanaik congratulated the trainee pilots, and wished them success in their future endeavours. “You (trainee pilots) have faced and overcome many difficulties during the trainee period to gain success. But, this is not the end but is instead the beginning of your career. The real problems are waiting for you, outside the base.”
The pilots underwent rigorous training for 22 weeks in flying and aviation subjects at the Helicopter Training School (HTS) INAS 561 located in the NAS at Arakkonam. The HTS commanded by Paul Mathew has graduated 616 pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard till date.
The squadron was awarded the ‘Best Training Squadron’ trophy for the year 2013-14. The school was also recently awarded ISO 9001:2008 certification and has also been adjudged ‘The Best Naval Air Squadron’ for the year 2012-13 among all the naval air squadrons of the Navy. The squadron is 43 years old and was initially established at INS Garuda, Kochi and later in June 1992 was re-based in INS Rajali in Arakkonam.
Graduating pilots will be joining operational flights in Mumbai, Port Blair, Goa, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Daman and Chennai.