Flying Instructors School (FIS) was formed at Ambala on April 1, 1948. A fledgling institute, it was commanded by Flt Lt LRD Blunt and equipped with Tigermoth aircraft. The school was relocated at Tambaram near Chennai on October 10, 1954. This allowed the school to carry out unhindered training of Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs) away from the tensions of the border. Till date, over 2500 Flying Instructors have graduated from the school. Those who graduated include officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and also officers from friendly foreign countries. At present, flying training is conducted on the HJT-16 (Kiran) and the HPT-32 (Deepak) aircraft.
Keeping in mind the operational requirements of the IAF in modern warfare, the aim of the school is to produce efficient QFls who, apart from teaching ab-initio flying trainees, can also groom them towards the future needs of the Air Force. The functional and administrative control of the school is vested with the HQ Training Command, IAF.
The flying training is conducted by the Chief Flying Instructor. Each trainee flies approximately for 120 hours on both piston and jet aircraft. Of these, 90 hours are dedicated to training on the primary aircraft which could be either the HJT-16 or the HPT -32, and the balance on the other. This equips them to adapt faster to the different flying characteristics and methods of instruction peculiar to different aircraft. The various exercises taught are general handling, approach and landing, instrument flying, navigation, formation flying and night flying. The emphasis is more on the technique of teaching manoeuvres, fault analysing and bringing about a high degree of situational awareness in the ab-initio trainee.
The motto of FIS is Vidya Danen Vardhate which means 'knowledge when imparted, multiplies' .This has been adapted from Kautilya's Arthashastra. The unit's crest was approved by the then President, Dr S Radhakrishnan on April19, 1964. The crest depicts the 'torch of knowledge' being passed from one hand to the other. The wings on the torch depicts aviation.
During the 1971 Indo -Pak war, three officers of FIS, Sqn Ldr KK Bakshi, FIt Lt DC Nayyar and FIt Lt RC Gosain were awarded Vir Chakra for bravery of high order in the face of the enemy. Some of the staff as well as trainees of FIS took active part in the air operations during the Kargil conflict. Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja, who served the unit during 1997 -98 as a directing staff, laid down his life during the Kargil operation on May 27, 1999 and was awarded Vir Chakra posthumously. In recognition of its meritorious service, FIS was awarded Colours by the then President Dr SD Sharma on October 26, 1995.
The staff at FIS have time and again distinguished themselves in handling adverse situations in the air. Two recent incidents are noteworthy. On April 21, last year HPT -32 aircraft was successfully force landed after an engine failure, on a dry lake bed, by Sqn Ldr Milind Kumar and Sqn Ldr R Purohit. On November 31st year, Wg Cdr S Rajshekhar, on experiencing an engine flame out on HJT -16 aircraft, executed a safe dead stick landing with no damage.
Keeping in step with the technological advancements, FIS has regularly up-graded its conduct of training. All lectures and presentations are conducted using computer aided projection systems. This affords the trainee's flexibility in his approach to teaching by way of experimenting with graphics, animation, sound effects etc. This also allows the trainee to obtain information from the huge data base available in the electronic media, apart from ensuring a certain minimum computer literacy for all. 'One demonstration is worth a thousand words', and, therefore, it has been the endeavour of staff at FIS to produce films of manoeuvres and exercises on video. This enables the trainees to understand the mechanics and techniques of flying by viewing the films on ground, since the time available in air to repeat manoeuvres is usually too short.
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