Service No : 19213 F(P)

Date of Birth : April 1, 1966

Place of birth : Mumbai

Last Rank : Squadron Leader

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Martyrdom : August 4, 1999

Squadron Leader FS Siddiqui

Squadron Leader Farhat Samiullah Siddiqui's family originally hailed from Lucknow, but later settled down in Mumbai. Born on 01 Apr 1966, Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui had a brother Arshad and a sister Asma as his siblings. He studied at St John School in Goregaon in Mumbai and later went on to study at Mithibhai College Mumbai.  Besides being good at studies, he was a keen sportsman and specially excelled in boxing. He was a Western India boxing champion for three years and won laurels in various boxing competitions. He even had the honour of an exhibition match with the great boxer Muhammad Ali at Mumbai, when he was mere 12 years old. After completing his schooling, he got selected for the prestigious NDA and joined the 71st NDA Course (Bravo Squadron) in 1983.  After excelling in varous aspects of training, he passed out of the NDA on 01 Dec 1986. He then went to the Air Force Academy and was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 19 Dec 1987 at the age of 21 years. He was commissioned in the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a helicopter pilot as part of the 140th Pilots' Course.


After completing his flying training, he served with various flying squadrons located at different Air Force bases. He served with varous helicopter squadrons of the IAF based at Jodhpur and Tezpur and also had the distinction of being deputed to serve with the Indian Navy for three years. After serving for a few years Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui got married to Ms Madhulika and the couple had two daughters Sana and Lubna. By 1999, Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui had put in about 12 years of service and evolved into a professionally competent helicopter pilot having expertise in various air operations. 


Cheetah Helicopter Crash: 04 Aug 1999
During 1999, Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui was serving with 117 HU, known as "Himalayan Dragons" with its motto of Apatsu Mitram meaning 'A friend in time of need'. The unit was operating Cheetah Helicopter, a high performance helicopter designed for operation over a very wide range of weight, centre of gravity and altitude conditions. During 1999, based at Air Force base at Sarsawa in UP, the unit under the command of Wg Cdr Rajiv Gupta, was using the Cheetah helicopter as a versatile, multi role, multi purpose machine undertaking various operational tasks on a regular basis. Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui along with co-pilot Flt SK Pandey was tasked for one such mission on 02 Aug 1999.  Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui had recently returned after taking part in 'Operation Vijay' in J&K as part of Kargil war. The assigned task on 02 Aug 1999, was a rescue mission to save two German Nationals, who had got stranded in the hills of Lahul Spiti, in Himachal Pradesh.
On 02 Aug 1999, as planned, Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui and his co-pilot Flt SK Pandey took off in their Cheetah SA -315 helicopter for the assigned mission. The rescue operation continued for two days without any success, but on the third day on 04 Aug, the Germans were spotted near Kurgiakh in Zanskar valley of Ladakh. However, while attempting the rescue landing at Kurgiakh, their Cheetah SA -315 helicopter caught fire mid-air owing to a technical snag. Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui and Flt SK Pandey did not get adequate time to take any emergency measures and consequently the chopper crashed. Both the pilots could not survive the crash and lost their lives. Sqn Ldr FS Siddiqui was a gallant and committed air warrior, who laid down his life at the age of 33 years in the service of the nation. 
Sqn Ldr Farhat Samiullah Siddiqui is survived by his wife Smt Madhulika Siddiqui and daughters Sana & Lubna.
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