Krishan Kant Saini
Wing Commander Krishan Kant Saini, Vr.C., AVSM (retd.) (26 Oct 1931– ), an Indian Airforce helicopter pilot of 104 Squadron, set the world record in helicopter avionics by accomplishing the world's highest altitude helicopter landing. He attained this feat on 8 May 1969 when he landed Chetak helicopter at the altitude of 6858 m (22,500 feet) in the Karkoram ranges. According to another source he landed Alouette SA-315 helicopter at 22,500 feet in the Karakoram mountain range on 8 May 1969
Saini was also a distinguished officer of Indian Airforce, who was decorated for both gallantry and meritorious service. He won the prestigious Vir Chakra, the third highest award for gallantry in Indian Armed Forces, in 1962 Sino-Indian war when he carried out a dare-devil evacuation mission on his helicopter amidst hostile fire from many directions by the Chinese troops. Despite being hit by bullet and being temporarily blinded, he carried out his mission, winning himself a Vir Chakra in the process. Wing Commander Saini also subsequently received Vayusena Medal for Gallantry and Ati Vishist Seva Medal for meritorius service.
Gallantry award citation
Wing Commander (Retd.) Saini's gallantry award citation reads as follows:
"Flight Lieutenant Krishan Kant Saini had been operating in NEFA area since October, 1960. On 18th November, 1962, he, along with his co-pilot was evacuating seriously injured battle casualties in Walong area. He was instructed to land at a helipad close to the enemy line which was reported to be clear of enemy troops. When he was over the helipad, Chinese troops opened fire from many directions. His helicopter was hit at several places; the main reducter was damaged and oil from it gushed out in a thick spray which blinded him temporarily. His right ankle was also injured by a splinter and he was bleeding profusely. With great determination, presence of mind and skill, he dived the helicopter almost to ground level to avoid further damage from enemy fire. He thus saved the helicopter and the lives of his co-pilot and passengers. In spite of the damaged hydraulic system and the personal injury, he skilfully brought the aircraft back to base.
Flight Lieutenant Saini displayed courage, determination and professional skill of a high order."
- "8 May 1969 – Wg. Cdr. K.K. Saini AVSM, Vr C, VM established another world record for the highest landing by an Alouette SA-315 helicopter at 22,500 feet in the Karakoram mountain range.", The sky was the limit, Murkot Ramunny, Northern Book Centre, 1997
- Gazette of India, 11 January 1964 – No.3 – Pres/64 dated 1 January 1964
- Military Year-book, pp 362, Published by Guide Publications, 1971, Item notes: 1971, Original from the University of California, Digitized 18 January 2008
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