Indian Air Force Pipistrel Virus SW 80 Microlight Aircraft Crashes in Punjab, Pilot Killed

An Indian Air Force ‎Pipistrel Virus SW 80 microlight aircraft crashed in the Army cantonment area in Patiala, Punjab on Feb. 24 killing an IAF pilot and injuring a cadet from National Cadet Corps (NCC).

The twin-seat aircraft reportedly crashed soon after taking off from the Patiala Aviation Club airport.

The deceased IAF pilot was identified as Wing Commander G. S. Cheema and the NCC cadet was identified as Vipin Kumar Yadav of Mohindra College, Patiala. Wg. Cmdr. Cheema was reportedly on deputation at an NCC unit in Patiala.

An inquiry has been ordered by the Air Force to ascertain the cause of the accident, according to its spokesperson.

In February 2018, an IAF Virus  SW-80 crashed after getting airborne for a routine sortie from Air Force Station Jorhat in the state of Assam killing both its pilots. On Oct. 5 that year, an IAF SW 80 microlight aircraft crashed in Ranchad village in Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh.

The Indian Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to Pipistrel, on 12 October 2015, to supply 194 Virus SW 80 light trainers to the Indian Air Force (IAF) – 72 aircraft, Indian Navy – 12 aircraft, and National Cadet Corps (NCC) – 110 aircraft.

The two-seat Pipistrel Virus SW 80 aircraft, known as Garud in India after a bird in Hindu mythology, are used for training of Flight Safety and Air Wing Cadets.

The aircraft is powered by an 80 HP aviation certified engine and can reach a maximum speed of more than 220 km/h, fly for more than 3 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 6000 meters. It is equipped with a special ballistic parachute rescue system and several other safety-enhancing features, such as energy attenuation seats and a Kevlar-reinforced cockpit cell.

The aircraft are also deployed for environmental and bird recce missions.

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