was a perfect setting for the passing-out parade at the Helicopter
Training School, Arakkonam. With the drizzling, it seemed as though Lord
Varun was showering petals on the officers on their successful completion
of the helicopter conversion course.
Commanded by Capt MR Ajay Kumar, INS
Rajali wore a festive look with VIPs, family members of Naval
personnel and mediapersons watching the passing-out parade of 12 Naval and
one Coast Guard officer. The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr PS Rama Mohan Rao
was the chief guest. He inspected the parade commanded by Commander AK
Banerjee. He also pinned wings and gave away certificates to one Coast
Guard and six Naval officers and certificates to six Naval trainees. The
Governor of Kerala Trophy for the best allround trainee was given to Sub
Lt V Banta and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Rolling Trophy for
standing first in order of merit to
Lt H Sekhar.
24-week rigorous training included short aircraft maintenance course,
attachment with the School of Oceanography and Meteorology, both at Kochi,
search and rescue phase at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam, 85 hours of
flying for each trainee and 250 lectures on various aviation subjects. The
trainee pilots flew a sortie in the TU 142M aircraft to get a
first-hand experience of the maritime reconnaissance and airborne anti-
submarine warfare operations.
The Naval Helicopter Training
School, INAS 561, is the premier aviation training establishment
and is the alma-mater for all helicopter pilots of the Indian Navy.
The squadron was commissioned on September 15, 1971 at INS Garuda, Kochi.
Later, in June 1972, it was re-based to its present location. The school
undertakes ab-initio flying training of Naval pilots. Beginning modestly
with the rudimentary Hughes 300 helicopters to the present day's
indigenously manufactured Chetak helicopters, the prestigious
school has successfully trained more than 250 pilots of the Navy, Coast
Guard and foreign navies.
- V Sankaran