Flying Instructors School


Flying Instructors SchoolThe crest of Flying Instructors' School depicts a torch with an open fist, signifying knowledge imparted and passed on by a flying instructor, and a clenched fist held upright, depicting an under trainee receiving the same. The wings depict aviation.

The motto is "VIDYA DANEN VARDHATE" which signifies that 'Knowledge when imparted multiplies'. This has been taken from Kautilya's 'ARTHASATRA', the oldest book of Sanskrit literature. This is the guiding principle of the teaching learning process at the Flying Instructors' School.


A Star is Born

Flt Lt LRD BluntOn 01 Apr 48, the Flying Instructor's School (FIS) was formed at Ambala. Flt Lt LRD Blunt ('Screamy') was given the honour of being the first Commanding Officer. Flying and associated ground training commenced on home soil with zeal and zest. During the initial few years, 5-6 pilots per course were trained on Tiger Moth and Harvard ac. The course duration was 12 weeks.

The process of training regular Squadron pilots to become flying instructors had commenced. The onerous responsibility of moulding ab-initios and operational pilots to fly with utmost professionalism and dedication as their hallmark now rested on the shoulders of the QFIs.

Flt Lt TN BhanotFlt Lt TN Bhanot, who took over command of the unit from Flt Lt LRD Blunt, had a short tenure from 15 Jan 49 to 07 Apr 49.

Flt Lt HK BoseFlt Lt HK Bose ('Jerry') commanded the unit from 08 Apr 49 and it was during his tenure that the command of the unit was upgraded to the rank of Sqn Ldr along with his promotion on 09 Dec 49.


RelocationDuring the year 1954, India and Pakistan were on the brink of war and tension on the border was rife. Large scale changes were undertaken in the IAF during that period. The Vampires were inducted and two new Spitfire squadrons were raised. Based on the military and strategic outlook, a decision was taken to relocate the School in Tambaram near Chennai. After the relocation in 1954, FIS was equipped with the indigenously built HT-2 aircraft. The HT-2 served in FIS till 1989

TAMBARAM: 1954 TO 1965

New Home

The origin of Tambaram airfield dates back to 1942. The British built this Base with two cross-runways over an expanse of about 1400 acres. The airfield was used in the Second World War as a Royal Naval Air Station. Its main role was to facilitate recovery and to provide rest-in-transit to the Allied Forces.

A comparatively quiet airfield, Tambaram witnessed a frenzy of air and ground activity as FIS started operations. FIS had found a new home at Tambaram where it has continued till date.

Command of the Unit

Sqn Ldr KL Suri took over command of the unit from 17 May 57 and Sqn Ldr RJM Upot from 22 Jan 60. It was on 09 Jul 62 that the command was upgraded to the rank of Wg Cdr when Wg Cdr NB Singh took over as the Commanding Officer. Wg Cdr EL Birch took over the reins of the unit on 10 Mar 65. The Command was further upgraded to the rank of Gp Capt in Aug 76. Gp Capt N Gautam is commanding the Unit at present.


FIS is tasked to impart quality training to experienced pilots and mould them into dedicated and extremely skilled flying instructors. At FIS, the flying skills and professional knowledge of these U/T QFIs are honed to enable them to undertake the arduous task of imparting flying training more effectively and efficiently. The QFIs who successfully graduate from FIS are entrusted with the responsibility of training ab-initio pilots at flying training establishments and moulding them into future Air Warriors. Subsequently at the operational units, these specialists would impart training to aircrew in various roles that the unit is entrusted to perform. It is to the credit of the School and its staff, past and present, that it has also successfully integrated the training of officers from the sister services and friendly foreign nations.

Training of Sister Services and Foreign Officers

With the passage of time, overall concept of warfare and airpower saw many developments. Indian Army and Navy raised their own air arms and realized the need to have their own experienced pilots trained as flying instructors. The fine reputation of the School having spread worldwide, Friendly Foreign countries started sending their own pilots to be trained as instructors. The School has the distinction of training pilots from over 17 countries, including USA, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana. Apart from this, the graduates of this School have been sent to train ab-initio and operational pilots in countries like Iraq, Egypt, Botswana and Malaysia.

TAMBARAM: 1966 TO 1985

Command of the Unit

The following officers commanded the unit during this period:-

Date of Taking Over Commanding Officer Name
22 Apr 67 Wg Cdr PJ Jakatdar
16 Dec 68 Wg Cdr J Philipose
23 Oct 71 Wg Cdr BD Dogra
20 May 74 Wg Cdr D Sengupta
16 Feb 76 Wg Cdr TK Sen
30 Aug 76 Gp Capt TK Sen
18 Mar 77 Wg Cdr M Banerji, MVC, VM
20 Jun 77 Gp Capt M Banerji, MVC, VM
01 Nov 80 Gp Capt NN Ubgade
02 Jan 82 Gp Capt TNB Shankar
09 Apr 84 Gp Capt RK Malhotra, VM

Visit of Australian High Commissioner

The Australian High Commissioner
The Australian High Commissioner visited FIS on 07 Oct 67

Change of Trainer Aircraft

HJT-16 (Kiran)
Another HAL built ac, HJT-16 (Kiran) was inducted in 1971

The Longest Course

The 54 APFIC commenced training at the School in Jul 71. This course included officers from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Malaysian Air Force. In Aug 71, owing to unrest on our borders, the course was suspended and all pilots were attached to operational squadrons. After the conflict, training at the School resumed and was completed in May 72, almost after one year. Thus 54 APFIC is recorded in the annals of FIS as the 'longest course'.

Visit of MGR

Visit of MGRMr. MG Ramachandran, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu visited FIS in 1978

Servicing of Aircraft

Prior to 1980, maintenance and servicing of ac were being done by AF personnel. However, from 1980 onwards, HAL staff took over the maintenance and servicing of ac in FIS.


Command of the Unit

The following officers had the privilege of commanding the School during this period :-

Date of Taking Over Commanding Officer Name
15 Feb 88 Gp Capt MKR Menon, VM
27 Mar 90 Gp Capt AKM Raje, VM
07 Dec 92 Gp Capt M Sundaram, AVSM
20 Feb 95 Gp Capt Anil Gupta, VM
16 Dec 96 Gp Capt KK Swaminathan, VM
05 Jul 99 Gp Capt VK Yajurvedi
15 Jun 03 Gp Capt A Ghosh,VSM
20 Apr 05 Gp Capt HKJS Sokhey
01 Aug 07 Gp Capt TD Joseph, VM
25 May 09 Gp Capt S Shrinivas
28 May 11 Gp Capt H S Basra VM
22 Apr 13 Gp Capt N Gautam

Flight Safety Trophy

Flight Safety Trophy
Air Chief Marshal De LA Fontaine presenting the Flight Safety Trophy in 1987

FIS was awarded the Flight Safety Trophy for the years 1986 - 87 and 1999 - 2000.

Change of Trainer Aircraft

HPT-32 AircraftIn 1989, to the relief of many course officers at FIS, the HT-2 was replaced by the nose wheeled HPT-32 aircraft! The HPT-32 continues to serve in FIS till date.


A steady progress in the quality of training aids came about in 1997-99. Computer Aided Training thereafter became an area of excellence at the School.

Commodore Commandant

Air Mshl KB SinghAir Mshl KB Singh, PVSM, AVSM, VM, VSM was appointed as the first Commodore Commandant of the unit on 01 Jan 98.

New Home

New homeThe New Building Complex in Tambaram
In May 98, unit moved into a new building complex with all modern amenities.

FIS Today

The Flying Instructors' School has completed 62 glorious years in the service of the Nation. To ensure a high state of combat preparedness of the fourth largest Air Force in the world, the IAF needs dedicated and extremely conversant pilots to train the new entrants into the force. The Flying Instructors' School does just that, "We produce some of the best instructors in the World".

The admirable status of our military pilots in measure of sheer professionalism is distinct testimony to the efforts of FIS year after year. FIS is a source of pride and the envy of all professionally competent aviators.

"Knowledge multiplies when disseminated"- the School is a testimony to this fact, having successfully graduated 127 courses through its portals. The directing code of the School is the maxim embedded in the FIS crest - "Vidya Danen Vardhate", which when translated means that "Knowledge multiplies when disseminated". The tremendous responsibilities placed on a QFI demands a high level of professionalism, a sturdy foundation of core values and a right aptitude and temperament for teaching. The FIS provides the right environment for moulding regular pilots into skilled, competent and highly professional instructors, thus making the FIS, "the true cradle for Flying Instructors".

The admirable quality of our military aviators in terms of sheer professionalism, skill level in flying and core competency is a testimony to the effort put in by FIS year after year, course after course. The high standards of instruction that are maintained throughout the course have made the School one of the premier institutions of the Indian Air Force - a centre of excellence.


Name Period
Wg Cdr RK Malhotra VM PSC 29 Sep 1977 - 10 Sep 1979
Wg Cdr DP Chinoy 20 Oct 1979 - 30 Mar 1980
Wg Cdr VK Malhotra 31 Mar 1980 - 30 Sep 1980
Sqn Ldr AK Trikha 01 Oct 1980 - 04 Jan 1981
Wg Cdr AK Trikha 05 Jan 1981 - 07 Jun 1981
Wg Cdr BK Ramakrishna 25 Jul 1981 - 12 Jan 1983
Wg Cdr GD Shintre 13 Jan 1983 - 18 Mar 1984
Wg Cdr MKR Menon VM 19 Mar 1984 - 08 Dec 1984
Wg Cdr VK Vidyadhar 09 Dec 1984 - 25 Feb 1986
Wg Cdr CD Chandrashekhar VM 26 Feb 1986 - 31 Aug 1986
Wg Cdr KS Raghavachari VM 01 Sep 1986 - 05 Jan 1987
Wg Cdr MT Baran 06 Jan 1987 - 18 Jun 1987
Wg Cdr R Rajkumar 19 Jun 1988 - 31 Mar 1989
Wg Cdr PC Chopra 01 Apr 1989 - 10 Jun 1991
Wg Cdr RK Dewan 11 Jun 1991 - 29 Feb 1992
Wg Cdr AJ Singh 01 Mar 1992 - 30 Nov 1992
Wg Cdr Anil Gupta 01 Dec 1992 - 21 May 1993
Wg Cdr Pradeep Singh 22 May 1993- 12 Feb 1995
Wg Cdr PS Gill 13 Feb 1995 - 23 May 1995
Wg Cdr Ramesh Rai 24 May 1995- 08 Nov 1995
Wg Cdr SS Soman 09 Nov 1995 - 07 Nov 1996
Wg Cdr A Oka 08 Nov 1996 - 11 Dec 1997
Wg Cdr SV Bal 12 Dec 1997 - 31 Jul 1998
Wg Cdr GS Baweja VM 01 Aug 1998 - 21 Feb 1999
Wg Cdr S Bedi 22 Feb 1999 - 09 Nov 1999
Wg Cdr KR Prasad 20 Jan 2000 - 05 Jul 2001
Wg Cdr PS Sandhu 06 Jul2001 - 19 Jun 2003
Wg Cdr M Fernandez VM 20 Jun 2003 - 16 May 2004
Wg Cdr Raj Vaid 17 May 2004 - 18 Sep 2006
Wg Cdr H Bains 19 Sep 2006 - 05 Jun 2008
Wg Cdr LK Chawla VM 06 Jun 2008 - 21 Jun 2009
Wg Cdr Sandeep Dang 22 Jun 2009 - 25 Apr 2010
Wg Cdr SS Gahlaut 26 Apr 2010 - 02 Dec 2012
Wg Cdr N Kumar 03 Dec 2012 - 16 Jun 13
Gp Capt M Midha 17 Jun 2013 ......

Achievement and Milestones 

In Nov 2008 FIS celebrated its 60 glorious years of formation.


During the 1971 war, three officers of FIS were awarded the VIR CHAKRA for bravery of high order in the face of the enemy. They were:-

  • Sqn Ldr KK Bakshi (3012) F(P)
  • Flt Lt DC Nayyar (8995) F(P)
  • Flt Lt RC Gosain (9447) F(P)

Role in Kargil Conflict

Some of the staff as well as trainees of FIS took active part in the air operations during the Kargil conflict named Op 'Safed Sagar'. Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja, who served the unit during 1997-98 as directing staff, laid down his life during the above operations (27 May 99) and he was awarded the VrC posthumously.

The Tsunami Episode

26 Dec 2004 was a quiet Sunday but behind the lull was a devastating storm with Nature's fury unfolding in the form of sea. The earthquake which had caused these waves resulted in unimaginable damage to lives and property. The phenomenon affected not only the South-East Asian countries but also some parts of Africa. The waves have a scientific name "Tsunami" which is a Japanese word meaning "Harbour Waves". The helicopters at FIS were pressed in to service for recce around Chennai coast. Air Force Station Tambaram became the hub centre for coordinating rescue and relief air operations for Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Air Force base at Carnic was wiped out completely. FIS along with Air Force Station Tambaram stood up to provide financial as well as emotional support to the victims of the tragedy.



  • Sqn Ldr KK Bakshi
  • Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja
  • Flt Lt DC Nayyar
  • Flt Lt RC Gosain


  • Sqn Ldr PM Balliga F(P) 08 Oct 97
  • Sqn Ldr S Mittal F(P) 26 Jan 99
  • Wg Cdr A Fernandez 26 Jan 04
  • Wg Cdr S Kapoor 15 Aug 05


Gp Capt A Ghosh 26 Jan 04


Mr.Shankar Dayal SharmaColour Presentation by His Excellency Mr.Shankar Dayal Sharma, President of India on 26 Oct 95
In recognition of its meritorious service, FIS was awarded colours by the President on 26 Oct 95.

Shri. Rajesh PilotShri. Rajesh Pilot signing the Visitors Book
Mr.Rajesh Pilot, the Minister of State for Surface Transports attended the colour presentation in his service uniform.