A massive explosion rocked an Indian air force base on Friday and it was Indian ordnance that triggered the blast. An IAF Jaguar fighter took off from Ambala AFS (Haryana) and a few hundred feet off the runway it went through a flock of birds. One of the two engines flamed out and that’s when things got interesting.

The plane was heavily loaded with external fuel tanks and carrier bomb light stores (CBLS) and continuing the takeoff on one engine wasn’t going to work. The young pilot, who was on a training mission, pickled the bombs and fuel tanks and promptly disappeared behind a wall of flame and smoke from the jettisoned gear. He landed safely a few minutes later. The Air Force lauded the pilot’s textbook response. “The professionalism & quick thinking by the pilot not only saved a war waging asset but also lives of many civilians in the area adjoining the airfield,” officials told Indian media.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.