Indian Air Force
No. 21 Squadron

Folland Gnat Mk I

E-304

Saturday
21st October 1972 

AF Stn Gorakhpur
Flt Lt George  K.  Naliyan

 


painting by George K. Naliyan - used with permission

 

The loss of Silver 3

George Naliyan still treasures the face-blind that he pulled nearly 40 years ago to activate his lightweight Folland ejection seat.
27 year old Flt Lt Naliyan of the Indian Air Force was a member of No 21 Squadron at Gorakphur flying the Folland Gnat fighter developed at Hamble.

On this particular fine Saturday afternoon, flying in clear blue skies things began to go wrong.

George remembers

I was no 3 in a 4 aircraft formation-was in contact with the ATC right through. I was waiting for my no 4 to land, unfortunately he went around twice while I was orbiting at 5000 with my bingo light on.

I positioned myself behind him corkscrewing myself on the finals when the engine flamed out with the fuel gauge showing 50 lbs

Events then happened very quickly. His Gnat Mk.1, callsign Silver-3, was nose down and losing altitude and George had no place to land safely. 

I called up ATC and told them I am ejecting, leveled the wings and pulled the face blind.

The canopy jettisoned automatically and he hit the slipstream at approximately 500 feet and at 200 knots

". . . tumbled backwards twice, the few seconds it took for the parachute to open seemed like eternity to George. Moments later suspended under his Irvin 24 ft parachute he  landed on a ploughed field, suffered mild bruises and a cut on the left  foot  as the leg restraining straps buckle cut through the flying boots."

As for the fate of the aircraft. Its rapid descent ended with E-304's nose dug into the open, ploughed, farmland field  and it stood almost vertically. not far from the air field at Gorakhpur,  Uttar Pradesh, India.

George K. Naliyan, IAF (ret.) 

 

 


                      photo: George K. Naliyan

"I ejected from a Gnat over Gorakhur in India on 21st October 1972 -walked out with mild injuries - "