S. K. Majumdar (IAF officer)
|S. K. Majumdar|
|Born||8 October 1927
Patna, British India
|Died||20 July 2011
New Delhi, India
|Allegiance|| British India
Republic of India
|Service/branch|| Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
|Years of service||1945–1977|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Sikorsky Pioneering Award (2004),
Rotary Wing Society of India
Air Commodore Sudhindra Kumar Majumdar (8 October 1927 – 20 July 2011) was an officer and helicopter pioneer in the Indian Air Force.
Air Commodore Majumdar began his flying career with Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF). At the height of the Second World War in 1945, he was inducted in the RIAF. He received his ‘flying wings’ in 1948, and commissioned on 14 May as a Pilot Officer and Flying Officer, flying Hurricanes and Spitfires – in the halcyon days of the fledging Air Force of newly independent India.
He continued flying fixed-wing craft with the Indian Air Force (the word "Royal" was dropped in 1950), prior to selection for helicopters in 1953.
When India decided to induct the Sikorsky S-55 helicopter for the IAF, then Flight Lieutenant S. K. Majumdar was selected to be sent to the United States along with Flight Lieutenant Neil Todd, for training, on the selected type for induction into the Indian Air Force.
During his long innings in the Indian Air Force, he achieved many firsts:
- First pilot in the Indian defence and para-military forces to fly the helicopter, an S-55 Sikorsky, in India (March 1954)
- First helicopter qualified flying instructor
- First to do an amphibious operation
- Founder of the helicopter training unit of the Indian Air Force
- First to carry out a roof-top landing (1959).
Apart from pioneering the concepts of usage of helicopter in India, he was a pioneer in mountain terrain operations. He "evolved concepts of mountain flying in erstwhile NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh), Assam, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir, and displayed an astonishing degree of dedication and professionalism."
After 29 years of distinguished service in the Indian Air Force, he retired in March 1977. 'Clients' during his Air Force time included former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. His career is also noteworthy for being accident-free.
Early in the morning of 20 July 2011, Air Commodore SK Majumdar - “First military helicopter pilot of India”, “Doyen of the Indian Air Force”, “Father of One-Oh-Four Helicopter Sqd, (Fire Birds)” - bid us his last good bye after a semi-prolonged illness! He died at age 83 at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in the Delhi Cantt section of New Delhi.
- "India's First Military Pilot Dead". OutlookIndia.com (New Dehli). 20 July 2011.
- Harkuali, Seema (July 2011). "Air Commodore Majumdar is no more". New Delhi.
- Asian News International (ANI) (20 July 2011). "India's first military pilot to fly helicopters dead". Yahoo! India.
- Seetharam, H.K. "A haven indeed".
- Wg.Cdr. H.R. Seetharam, Retd (July 2011). "Air Cmde SK Majumdar – RIP". Marutfans, About those whom the Marut brought together.