Twelve Test Pilots and five Flight Test Engineers of the 40th Flight Test Course graduated in Bengaluru on June 7, 2018 from the Air Force Test Pilots School (AFTPS) after burning the midnight oil for 48 weeks as part of a rigorous and multi-discipline training curriculum. AFTPS is integral to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), one of the premier units of Indian Air Force (IAF).
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee & Chief of the Naval Staff was the Chief Guest at the graduation ceremony.
On his arrival at ASTE, the Admiral was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour and he later paid homage to the Test Pilots & Test Engineers, who had laid down their lives during Flight Testing.
He presented certificates to the graduating officers and trophies to the distinguished graduates. He congratulated the graduating officers for their hard work and proud achievement. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest reminded the graduating officers that they would play a crucial role in the capability build up and modernization of the Indian Armed Forces. Despite resource constraints, it was incumbent on the test crew to continually strive to ensure that the developmental and testing cycle time was reduced without compromising on safety and quality. He highlighted the fact that our country could witness a major manufacturing boost as a consequence of the 'Make in India,' campaign. Test crew with their specialist training and experience would play a crucial role in fructifying and sustaining such an endeavour. He urged the graduating officers to uphold the virtues of honesty and integrity along with the professional attributes of Precision and Excellence as they stepped out into the real world from the relative comforts of an academic environment.
The passing out officers will join the prestigious and elite club of "the few and the proud" comprising 284 Test Pilots and 131 Flight Test Engineers that have passed out from AFTPS since its inception in 1973.
The prestigious Suranjan Das Trophy for the best all-round student test pilot was awarded to Squadron Leader M Arjun while the Chief of Air Staff Trophy for the best student test pilot in Flight Evaluation was awarded to Squadron Leader S A Shinde. The Maharaja Hanumanth Singhji Sword for the best all-round student flight test engineer was awarded to Major Sagar Chinche, while the Dunlop Trophy for the best student Flight Test Engineer in Flight Evaluation was awarded to Squadron Leader R Chakraborty, the Kapil Bhargava Trophy for the best student in ground subjects was awarded to Lt Cdr Asoom Sharma.