“Each year, a number of our fighter pilots are being killed during crashes of these “flying coffins” that have been discarded by the Russians in 1980. Yet our government is dilly-dallying the decision to do away with these vintage Soviet air crafts,” said Dr Anjum, a cousin of Abhinav. Squadron Leader Abhinav Choudhary.
“I HAVE lost my son but I appeal to the government with folded hands that the MiG-21 fighter planes should immediately be phased out from the Indian Air Force (IAF) so that more parents may not have to bear such an irreparable loss,” said a weeping Satendra Chaudhary at his residence in Meerut’s Gangasagar Colony on Friday.
Satendra Choudhary, a farmer in his late 50s, wore his son’s T-shirt on Friday morning as he received friends and relatives who had come to his Meerut house to offer their condolence. With his son no more, he clung on to things the young squadron leader Abhinav Choudhary (29) had left behind — like the tee he would wear during shooting practice at Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun from where he completed schooling before taking the NDA exam.
Abhinav was killed on Thursday night when a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet he was flying crashed in Punjab’s Moga district.
As news that his son, Squadron Leader Abhinav Chaudhary, had died in a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft crash in Moga district of Punjab Thursday night spread in Meerut, near and dear ones started flocking to their house to console the bereaved family.
“The younger ones in the IAF squad are still being allowed to train on one of the oldest fighter planes in the country. These planes have a history of developing snags during flying and had claimed many lives of our fighter pilots. This is a serious issue concerning lives of our fighter pilots and I appeal to the government that these accident-prone aircraft should no longer be allowed by the IAF,” said the father. After an intense four-hour search, the body of the pilot was recovered nearly 2-km away from the crash site.
Abhinav’s family has their ancestral home in Baghpat but they shifted base to Meerut years ago and he did his initial studies in the town before being admitted to the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun, and joined the Air Force in 2014. His first posting was at the Pathankot Air Base. Married on December 25 ,2019, Abhinav is survived by his wife Sonika Ujjawal, who has a Master of Science degree from an institute in France.
“Each year, a number of our fighter pilots are being killed during crashes of these “flying coffins” that have been discarded by the Russians in 1980. Yet our government is dilly-dallying the decision to do away with these vintage Soviet air crafts,” said Dr Anjum, a cousin of Abhinav.
The bereaved family’s neighbour, Captain Gyan Singh (Retd.) said, “The government spends crores on training of fighter pilots… then why are they being allowed to fly these worn-out aircraft?,” he asked.
Abhinav is survived by his parents, sister and wife Sonika Chaudhary, whom he wed in December 2019. He had plans to come home on May 15 on leave. But his parents asked him to stay put due to the pandemic.
Source: Indian Express and Times of India