Service No: 29931 F(P)
Service: Air Force
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
UNIT: 110 HU AF
Date of Martyrdom : Nov 19, 2010
Flt Lt Nishant Rai was on posted strength of 110 HU unit based at 19 Wing AF in 2010. This helicopter unit plays a major role in maintaining the army units deployed in far flung areas of the north east by air dropping the essential supplies. Flt Lt Rai was a helicopter pilot who was specially trained to fly MI-17 helicopter. He had gathered enough experience in various helicopter operations including air maintenance ops, specially during his tenure in 110 HU unit.
Air-Maintenance Sortie : 19 Nov 2010
On 19th November 2010 ,the fateful day,Flight Lieutenant Nishant Rai was flying an “air-maintenance” sortie on Mi-17 around Tawang area which is located about 9,000 feet above the ground at Chinese border . “Air-maintenance” refers to helicopter-aided support of forward army posts on the China frontier, at altitudes of 8,000ft to 14,000ft where winds are high and oxygen density is almost 30 per cent lower, and where supplies are either para-dropped or the helicopters make touch-and-go landings.
The ill-fated Mi-17 helicopter crashed near the China frontier on a wooden hillock at Tepsha village near Bomdir area, about 6km from Tawang, from where it had taken off, at about 12:04pm, leaving no survivors. The counter-Maoist operation chopper, was seen to blast mid-air as per some eye witnesses. This was the second time a plane had crashed mid-air on China frontier in the same year. The 12 soldiers who lost their lives in this horrific accident included the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Nishant Rai , the co-pilot Flight Lieutenant Akash Yadav, 10 other Air force personnel and and an army officer.
Flt LT N Rai was an accomplished pilot and a committed soldier and this horrific accident snatched away the precious life of this dedicated young soldier.
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