Nine naval pilots were awarded the prestigious ‘Wings of Gold’ at a passing out parade in the Helicopter Conversion Course (pilot) at Naval Air Station Rajali in Arakkonam of Ranipet district on Friday.
After the ceremonial review, the Rear Admiral awarded the Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy to Lieutenant Pritish Mehta for being adjudged the Best All Round Trainee Pilot, and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy to Sub Lieutenant Shantanu Misra for standing first in the Order of Merit.
A book prize was also awarded to Sub Lieutenant R Mageshvar for standing first in Ground subjects.
The pilots underwent rigorous flying and ground training for 20 weeks at the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 561, the Helicopter Training School (HTS). During the course, the trainee pilots were introduced to several nuances of helicopter flying. They also underwent a challenging syllabus, including navigation, night flying and operations over sea. At the end of the course, the trainees are adjudged for the categories of the best in flying, best in ground subjects and best in overall order of merit.
The newly qualified pilots will be appointed to various front-line operational units of the Indian Navy, where they will take on various missions such as SAR, Reconnaissance and Surveillance and Anti-Piracy patrols.
The INAS 561 (HTS) has trained 724 pilots for the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard as well as from friendly foreign navies till date.