Lieutenant Commander Rahul Nair hailed from Kerala and was born on November 04, 1976. Son of a Naval Officer Cdr RM Nair (Retd) and Smt Saraswati Nair, Lt Cdr Rahul had one sister and two brothers as his siblings. He was inclined to join the armed forces since his younger days like his father and continued to follow his dream while growing up. He got selected for the prestigious NDA after his schooling and later went to the Navel Academy. He was commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant in the Navy and subsequently got trained as a fighter pilot. He was passionate about flying and soon evolved into a professionally competent pilot with expertise in various air operations. He also trained with the IAF and flew MiG-21s at the Air Force base Chabua in Assam.
After serving for sometime he got married to Ms Lakshmi and the couple was blessed with a son Rohan. Lt Cdr Nair soon gained enough experience and expertise to get inducted into the Naval Aerobatic team “Sagar Pawan”. The Indian Navy aerobatic team Sagar Pawan was formed in 2003 at Dabolim Naval Air Station in Goa, and the team made its formal inaugural debut display (then with only three aircraft) in Kochi, on 11 May 2003 for the Golden Jubilee of the Indian Naval Aviation. The team also known as INSPAT - Indian Navy Sagar Pawan Aerobatic Team or SPAT, flew four HJT-16 Kiran Mk.II planes attached to INAS 551 Squadron, painted in dark blue and white. The planes of SPAT used white, red and blue smokes.
Kiran Mk II Air crash: 3rd Mar 2010
In March 2010, the aerobatic team “Sagar Pawan”, was tasked to perform in an air show in Hyderabad. On 3 March 2010 one of the Sagar Pawan Kiran Mk. II planes being flown by Cdr Suresh K Maurya and co-pilot Lt Cdr Rahul Nair crashed onto buildings, as they were doing maneuvers during the show. The accident occurred at Bowenpally area near Begumpet airport of Hyderabad. When all the four planes of the “Sagar Pawan” were performing ‘downward bomb burst’, formation, Kiran HJT-16 (IN-078) being flown by Lt Cdr Nair and Cdr Suresh K Maurya failed to pull up and crashed onto the buildings.
Both the pilots were experienced and competent flyers who had flown various operational missions before. But due to some technical snag, they could not control the aircraft at the mission-critical moment and crashed on to the nearby buildings. Lt Cdr Nair managed to eject from the aircraft, but he did not survive as the plane had come too close to the ground for a safe ejection. His parachute didn’t open up fully and got stuck in high tension electric wires, proving fatal for him. The precious life of an accomplished fighter pilot and a committed soldier was lost in this horrific accident. Lt Cdr Rahul Nair was a valiant officer and a competent pilot, who at the age of 33 years laid down his life in the service of the nation.
Lt Cdr Rahul Nair is survived by his father Cdr RM Nair (Retd), mother Smt Saraswati Nair, wife Smt Lakshmi Nair and son Rohan.