‘Good Chance’ of Abhinandan Flying Fighter Planes Again Soon

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman likely to be recommended for Vir Chakra, the report said.

2 min read
Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. (Xinhua/ISPR/IANS)

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman could once again fly fighter planes after he is given a final clearance by the Bengaluru-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM). Varthaman will undergo a series of tests at IAM in the near future to determine his return to the cockpit, reported Hindustan Times. There’s a “good chance” that Varthaman will return to flying soon, the report added quoting two Indian Air Force officials who wished to remain anonymous.

The 35-year-old could also be recommended for a Vir Chakra, one of India’s highest gallantry awards, the report added.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on 27 February after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during an aerial combat. He downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit. Varthaman was then released by Pakistan on 1 March.

Soon after his return to India, Varthaman was taken to Delhi’s Air Force Central Medical Establishment. The wing commander returned to the establishment last week for a medical review.

He is also being treated by the doctors at Army Hospital (Research and Referral) after he was diagnosed with injuries to his spine and rib upon his return.

“In such ejection cases, specialists usually assess a pilot’s health for up to 12 weeks before they clear him for flying again. So we will know about Abhinandan by May-end. But going by the current health indicators and the officer’s determination to return to fighter flying, we hope to see him in a g-suit soon.”
Indian Air Force Official to Hindustan Times

Varthaman could be assigned light ground duties before his final clearance comes through, the reported added.

Varthaman has been on medical leave since mid-March, a leave that he opted to spend with his squadron in Srinagar.

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!