Indian Air Force Virus SW-80 Microlight Aircraft Crashes, Two Pilots Killed

An Indian Air Force (IAF) Pipistrel Virus SW-80 microlight aircraft has crashed at around 1200 hrs on Feb. 15, after getting airborne for a routine sortie from Air Force Station Jorhat in the state of Assam.

Two pilots, Wing Commander J. James and Wing Commander D. Vats have sustained fatal injuries during the incident.

The pilots attempted an emergency landing but the aircraft crashed in a sand bar in the northern part of the district and went up in flames, Tezpur-based defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Harshvardhan Pande was quoted as saying.

The crash took place at Darbar Chapori, a sand bar in the Brahmaputra where there is no human habitation. People from villages in the district spotted the aircraft going up in flames and informed the authorities.

The Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement the a court of inquiry (CoI) has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

IAF personnel from the 10 Wing Air Force Station in Jorhat rushed to the spot while police and senior officials of the district set out for the crash site, accessible only by boat.

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

The two-seat Pipistrel Virus SW 80 aircraft, known as the Garud after a bird in Hindu mythology, were to be used for training of Flight Safety and Air Wing Cadets. The contract includes an option for an additional 100 aircraft within the third year.

The aircraft are usually deployed for environmental and bird recce missions, an IAF official said.

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