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Air Force chief BS Dhanoa flies Mig-21 with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

The 36-year-old IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.

By The Telegraph in Pathankot
  • Published 2.09.19, 3:09 PM
  • Updated 2.09.19, 3:09 PM
  • a min read
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Pathankot: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February, pose for a photograph after a sortie on the MiG 21 jet, at Airforce Station, Pathankot, Monday, Sept 02, 2019. PTI

Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February flew a MiG 21 fighter jet at the Pathankot Air Base

Varthaman started flying the MiG 21 about two weeks ago, nearly six months after sustaining injuries while ejecting from a fighter plane during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27.

Pathankot: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February, before a sortie on the MiG 21 jet, at Airforce Station, Pathankot.
Pathankot: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February, before a sortie on the MiG 21 jet, at Airforce Station, Pathankot. PTI

IAF Chief Dhanoa and Abhinandan took a sortie on the MiG 21 jet from the Pathankot airbase, officials said.

The 36-year-old IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan.

Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan. He was taken off flying duties because of his injuries. The Wing Commander was conferred the Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, for downing the F-16 jet of Pakistan during the aerial combat.

The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.