NEWDELHI:15/8/17: On 10 Oct 2016, Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Subhash Singh Rao, who was posted in a MiG-21 (Bis) Sqn as Flight Commander, was detailed for an Air Test sortie. After an uneventful sortie, when he came in for landing, he was informed that the starboard main wheel of his aircraft was misaligned. This abnormality, a serious defect, would have resulted in pilot abandoning the aircraft through ejection. This potentially hazardous situation would have resulted in total loss of the aircraft, decapitating injuries to pilot as well as loss of property on ground. The situation was averted due to the timely decision taken by Wing Commander Subhash Singh Rao. In a very short time he was able to correctly assess the situation at hand and correlate the emergency with a similar incident. He exercised extreme caution and displayed precision flying of the highest degree and took a courageous decision to execute the landing of the aircraft under stress. On landing, the wheel of the aircraft failed and the aircraft started going off the runway. Wing Commander Subhash Singh Rao displayed superior skills in maintaining control of the aircraft and stopped the aircraft on the runway, thereby saving the aircraft.
Even under a situation of considerable duress, Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Rao maintained a cool and calm composure. He was able to communicate his chain of thoughts to the personnel on ground which further aided in the safe recovery of the aircraft without creating panic. Displaying exceptional courage, Wg Cdr Rao was able to make an extremely well executed landing of the aircraft. He was able to prevent the loss of one valuable fighter aircraft while at the same time ensuring that there was no loss of life and property on ground to any civil or military infrastructure.
For this act of exceptional courage, tenacity and valour beyond the call of duty shown for safely recovering a stricken aircraft, Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Subhash Singh Rao is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).