Wing Commander Varun Singh (27987) Flying (Pilot) is a pilot in a Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Squadron.
On 12 Oct 20, he was flying a system check sortie in LCA, away from parent base, after major rectification of Flight Control System (FCS) and pressurization system (life support environment control system).
During the sortie, the cockpit pressurization failed at high altitude. He correctly identified the failure and initiated a descent to a lower altitude for landing. While descending, the Flight Control System failed and led to total loss of control of the aircraft. This was an unprecedented catastrophic failure that had never occurred. There was a rapid loss of altitude while in usual attitude, with the aircraft pitching up and down viciously going to the extremities of G limits. Despite being in extreme physical and mental stress in an extremely life-threatening situation, he maintained exemplary composure and regained control of the aircraft, thereby exhibiting exceptional flying skills. Soon thereafter, at about 10,000 feet, the aircraft again experienced a total loss of control with vicious maneuvering and uncontrollable pitching. Under such a scenario, the pilot was at liberty to abandon the aircraft. Faced with a potential hazard to his own life, he displayed extraordinary courage and skill to safely land the fighter aircraft. The pilot went beyond the call of duty and landed the aircraft taking calculated risks. This allowed an accurate analysis of the fault on the indigenously designed fighter and further institution of preventive measures against recurrence. Due to his high order of professionalism, composure, and quick decision making, even at the peril to his life, he not only averted the loss of an LCA but also safeguarded civilian property and population on the ground.
For this act of exceptional gallantry, Wg Cdr Varun Singh is conferred with the Shaurya Chakra.