Khokhar third test pilot to meet unnatural death

Khokhar third test pilot to meet unnatural death

Khokhar third test pilot to meet unnatural death

The test pilot community is shocked over the sensational murder of Parvez Hamilton Khokhar, 70, a retired air commodore with the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (AS&TE).

Bengaluru is known as the home for test pilots in the country and a host of officers described Khokhar’s death as a big loss.

Khokhar is the third test pilot to meet an unnatural death, said Air Marshall (Rtd) B K Pandey. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chief Test Pilot and Director (Corporate Planning and Marketing) Squadron Leader (Rtd) Baldev Singh hanged himself from a tree at Nandi Hills on October 11, 2011. Singh was a retired fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force, he said.

Group Captain Motilal Neluri (62), a resident of 1st Block, Jal Vayu Towers, NGEF Layout in Sadananad Nagar, accidentally slipped from the elevator on the fifth floor of his apartment and died following multiple head injuries on March 6, 2011, he added.

Khokhar, who was also chief test pilot for Light Combat Aircraft, was found murdered in his duplex villa at Huskur Gate, off Hosur Road, on Monday.

In an online post, Shiv Aroor, a close family friend, recalled what Khokhar had told about his fine 2013 piece on the LCA Tejas: “The Tejas Mark I is far superior to the MiG-21 fleet that the IAF would have to operate to the end of this decade. In key respects, it is a better fighter than even the Mirage 2000. The Tejas Mark I should enter the IAF's combat fleet in larger numbers and the Tejas Mark II scaled down. This would allow the Air Force to retire the MiG-21 fleet sooner.”

Post-retirement, Khokhar was well known as a no-nonsense observer of aerospace issues, writing often for magazines.

Khokhar was ‘A’ çategory flying instructor and an Air Attache at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. An officer with vast experience, he was credited with flying more than 60 variants of aircraft without even a minor accident. He was also a fighter pilot with combat experience in war. He was one of the popular officers among students when he taught Defence Studies at PG (A) level. He is one of the few officers who flew with Iraqi Air Force for a couple of years during Iran-Iraq war three decades ago.

The officer was honoured with prestigious awards. He bagged Presidential Award for Airmanship and Gallantry of an extraordinary calibre and was commended by Chief of Air Staff, twice. He was also commended by chief of Iraqi Air Staff.