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IAF loses another MiG-21; pilot safe
CHANDIGARH, JUN 15 (IANS):
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Published on 16 Jun. 2010 12:48 AM IST
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The Indian Air Force (IAF) Tuesday lost another MiG-21 fighter jet when it crashed near the Halwara air base in Punjab but the pilot ejected safely, an IAF spokesperson said.
The IAF has ordered an inquiry to know the cause of the crash that took place around 11.25 a.m. just outside the air base nearly 130 km from here in Ludhiana.
The pilot, who took off from Pathankot on routine training, ejected safely.
“The pilot faced some technical difficulty while flying and decided to divert the plane to Halwara. But it crashed about 10 km south of the Halwara air base,” said the spokesperson.
Police in Ludhiana said the crash caused no damage to property on the ground. “The aircraft crashed in an open field,” Deputy Inspector General R.K. Jain said.
It is the third IAF crash involving a MiG fighter plane this year.
The air force lost a MiG-27 Feb 16 in West Bengal.
That crash, attributed to defects in the engines of the aircraft, killed Wing Commander Oswald de Abreu.
A MiG-21 crashed Feb 19 at Bagdogra, also in West Bengal. But the pilot ejected and escaped following a sudden loss of engine power.
The IAF has initiated the process of phasing out the MiG-21s that have earned the nickname “flying coffins” because of frequent crashes. It has a fleet of about 250 MiG-21s.
The MiG-21s are about to be replaced by the indigenously built Tejas.

 
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