Abhinandan on mandatory ‘rest’ period

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 14

Ending more than 10 days of medical tests and de-briefings, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been sent on a mandatory ‘rest’ period — that is medically advised to pilots who eject from fighter jets.

The ‘rest’ period will help him rest his body and relax before he rejoins his own unit of the Indian Air Force (IAF), currently based at Awantipora near Srinagar. It will be after some more weeks that he will undergo a test at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) in Bengaluru that will determine his fitness levels.

Fighter pilots have to maintain a certain fitness level, termed as A1G1 (fully fit for airborne and ground operations). The IAF pilot has been discharged from the Research and Referral (R&R) Hospital in New Delhi, sources confirmed. Senior officials have already clarified that the Wing Commander will go back to fighter flying and to his own unit, if found medically fit.

Officials explained that the ‘rest’ is mandatory process that pilots have to do after an ejection as the spine can get concussions on ejection from a fighter jet. The pilot seat ejects with a massive force coupled with the speed of some 900 kmph of the jet. Pilots are trained in the process of ejection on simulators. In a conflict scenario and real-fight situation like the one faced by Wing Commander Varthaman, years of training and mental agility of landing in enemy territory and surviving count.

The IAF officer has undergone MRI scans, CT Scans and X-rays to examine his spine besides toxicology tests of his blood to determine whether he had been injected with any serum by Pakistani military doctors. Wing Commander Varthaman was treated at a Pakistan military facility and was reportedly injected with painkillers and other antibiotics to treat the injuries on his face that he had received after being beaten up by locals.

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