The Indian Air Force almost met its match after a pilot encountered a flock of birds upon takeoff for a training mission, nearly downing his craft and forcing him to drop a haul of fuel pods, which erupted in a fiery explosion.
Soon after taking off from an air base in Ambala for a drill on Thursday morning, an Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar collided with a flock of birds, causing one of its engines to fail. The pilot quickly jettisoned the craft’s fuel pods and practice munitions, known as Carrier Bomb Light Stores, allowing him to make an emergency landing, and the resulting fireball was caught on film.
#SavingLives: On the morning of 27 June19, an IAF Jaguar aircraft loaded with two additional fuel drop tanks & Carrier Bomb Light Stores
(CBLS) pods took off from AFS Ambala for a training
mission. Immediately after take off, the aircraft encountered a flock of
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 28, 2019
Indian military officials commended the pilot for his performance during the brief crisis.
“The pilot jettisoned his fuel tanks and external stores, including some 10 kg practice bombs, to gain height and managed to land back safely,” Air Force officials told Indian media outlet ANI, adding that the airman was an example of the “highest standards of the IAF.”
In cases of accidents or malfunctions, IAF pilots are trained to drop under-wing storage, such as bombs or fuel tanks, in order to regain control of their aircraft.
Except for the hapless birds, nobody was reported injured in the incident.