At an impressive Passing-out Parade (POP) held at the Naval Air Station Rajali, Arakkonam today (16 June 2017) to mark the graduation of the 17-01 Helicopter Conversion Course (Pilot) course wherein 11 Naval Pilots were awarded “Wings”. Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana Director General Project Varsha, Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) was the Chief Guest for the occasion. The pilots underwent rigorous training for 21 weeks in flying and aviation subjects at Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, the Helicopter Training School (HTS). Commanded by Captain Rajan Kapoor, HTS has graduated 682 Pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard till date. The school was initially commissioned at Kochi on 15 September 1971 and in 1992 shifted to the present location at INS Rajali at Arakkonam. Commanded by Commodore VK Pisharody, INS Rajali is the largest operational air base of the Indian Navy which has celebrated its Silver Jubilee in March this year.
After the ceremonial review, the Chief Guest awarded the Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy to Lieutenant Commander Rahul Verma for being adjudged as the Best All Round Trainee Pilot and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy to Lieutenant Subham Sahlot for standing first in order of Merit. A book prize was also awarded to Lieutenant Commander Nikhil Chugh for standing first in ground subjects.
The graduated pilots will subsequently join operational flights at Goa, Kochi, Mumbai, Port Blair and Vizag