Former Chief of the Air Staff Passes Away

Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar
Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar

Air Chief Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar PVSM MVC left for his heavenly abode on 09 Apr 15 at around 2000 h. He was hospitalised on 29 March this year at Command Hospital Southern Command Pune. He was 95 years old and is survived by a son and a daughter.  Air Chief Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar was commissioned in the Royal Indian Air Force on 30 Nov 1940. He served in the Indian Air Force for 38 Years during which he fought bravely against the Japanese Army in 1941. For his dedication in Kashmir Operation in 1948 and exceptional gallantry and leadership during the famous Battle of Zoji La, he was awarded the Mahavir Chakra in 1948.

Air Chief Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar was the captain of the first flight of four Ouragan fighters flown to India from France. At that time he became the first Indian to fly faster than sound, flying a Mystere-II fighter Bomber in 1951. Air Chief Marshal Hrushikesh Moolgavkar went to France and UK for the acquisition of second Generation Fighter Jet for the IAF and was one of the first to fly the MiG Fighter aircraft in 1954. He was also one of the first to fly the Gnat fighter when the IAF evaluated it at Chilboten in UK in 1954. Moolgavkar always maintained his flying status. Even as CAS, he would go on flights on MiG-21s, which also included the first flight of HAL built MiG-21M [C-1531]. On 01 Feb 76, he took over as Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force and took upon himself the task of bringing the IAF’s accident rate under control. He was always known as a stickler for flight safety. As the Air Chief, he implemented several reforms and rules that saw improvement in flight safety across the IAF. He retired from service in 1978 and settled down at Pune.

The Funeral Parade is planned to be held on 11 Apr 15 at 1700 h at Shakti Dham, Golibar Maidan, Pune. A memorial service is also planned at Officers’ Mess, Air Force Station Pune.

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