At an impressive Passing-out Parade (POP) held at the Naval Air Station Rajali, Arakkonam here today, 19 December 2015 to mark the graduation of the 85th Helicopter Conversion Course, 11 Navy and 02 Coast Guard pilots were awarded “Wings” by Rear Admiral PG Pynumootil, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy). The pilots underwent rigorous training for 21 weeks in flying and aviation subjects at Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, the Helicopter Training School (HTS) under the command of Captain K Sri Vatsa, which has graduated 638 pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard till date. The school was based at Kochi till 1992 and thereafter shifted to INS Rajali at Arakkonam which is the largest air base of the Indian Navy commanded by Commodore VK Pisharody.
After the ceremonial review, the Reviewing Officer awarded the Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy to SLt Ashwin Uday Kumar for being adjudged as the Best All Round Trainee Pilot and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy to SLt Sourabh Kumar Sharma for standing first in order of merit. A book prize was also awarded to Lt Ganesh Jaiswal for standing first in ground subjects.
The graduated pilots will subsequently join operational flights at Daman, Goa, Kochi, Mumbai, Port Blair and Vizag.