Former wing commander Kartha passes away at Puttaparthi

Anantapur: Wing commander Unnikrishnan G. Kartha,73, passed away at the Palliative Care Centre in Puttaparthi of Satya Sai district late on Thursday night. He was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in January 1972. He went on to serve it till March 1994 before he took voluntary retirement.

Wing commander Kartha is fondly known in the aviation fraternity as Unni. He had been an accomplished test pilot. During his 22 years of service with the IAF, he flew numerous aircraft, including C-47 Dakota, Alouette III, Mi-25 and Mi-35.

Unni Kartha had been largely responsible for inducting and operationalising the Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters in the IAF. He was also the first commanding officer of 104 (H) Squadron, an attack helicopter squadron.

After retirement, the wing commander began penning his experiences on blogspot Cyclic, which attracted millions from across the world. His articles endeared people so much that many aviation buffs, despite not having met him personally, would narrate episodes of his articles at any given opportunity.

Unni Kartha had moved to Puttaparthi about six months ago to spend his last days in the spiritual town. He breathed his last while being treated at the Palliative Care Centre in Puttaparthi.

IAF authorities paid official honours to the wing commander’s mortal remains.

Messages poured in expressing concerns over the demise of Unnikrishnan G. Kartha on social media across the country.

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