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Emotional setback to city

SQUADRON LEADER Shailendra Singh finally managed to fulfil his dream but also lost his life in the bargain. While flying as a member of his dream aerobatics team, hundreds of miles away from the city, a crash took away the Indian Air Force's ace pilot's another keen desire: Better application of Information Technology to the field of aviation.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 00:40 IST

SQUADRON LEADER Shailendra Singh finally managed to fulfil his dream but also lost his life in the bargain.

While flying as a member of his dream aerobatics team, hundreds of miles away from the city, a crash took away the Indian Air Force's ace pilot's another keen desire: Better application of Information Technology to the field of aviation.

The 32-year-old Squadron Leader, who died in the air crash of IAF's ace aerobatics team 'Surya Kiran' along with his colleague Wing Commander Dheeraj Bhatia near Bidar in Karnataka on March 18, had a close association with Allahabad. His wife Shweta Singh hails from the city and is a faculty member of the MBA (IT) course being run by the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (IIIT-A).

As soon as the news of the tragedy reached IIIT-A, it engulfed the entire Deemed University fraternity into a sea of sorrow, for Squadron Leader Singh was a regular visitor to the institute till just two months back and had shown a keen interest in the various projects under way here. Before joining the 'Surya Kirans' he was also posted at the Basic Flying Training School (BFTS) in Allahabad as an Instructor and had only left the city on January 9 this year.

At the time of the accident, Shweta Singh, who is the grand-daughter of Civil Lines resident late Dr Chandra, was also in Bidar along with her three-year-old son Kanha, visiting her husband on Holi.

Squadron Leader Singh and Wing Commander Bhatia were flying with their team while on a routine training flight on a 'Kiran MK II' trainer jet, when the fatal accident took place at Naubad, around three kilometres from Bidar.

Recalling his association with Sqn Ldr Singh, IIIT-A Director Dr MD Tiwari said that he often shared his dream of making it to the Surya Kiran team and had said that it was his deep desire to fly as a full-fledged member of the award winning aerobatics team of the IAF.

"He had even confessed that he would not mind if he died while flying as a member of the Surya Kirans. The young Squadron Leader fulfilled his dream but the country lost a brave pilot in the bargain," said an emotional Dr Tiwari.
Terming the tragedy as a personal loss, Dr Tiwari said that the pilot had shown interest in the various projects of IIIT-A and discussed the potential of further use of IT in aviation.

A condolence meeting was held at the IIIT-A to mourn the loss.
Colleagues close to Shweta informed that she was in a shock after the accident and could not be contacted even on phone.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 00:40 IST