Wing Commander Sathe was a former Indian Air Force pilot who flew planes for Air India before he went on to Air India Express flights.
The pilots of the Air India Express plane that skidded off the runway and broke into two at Kerala’s Kozhikode were among the 18 who lost their lives on Friday evening. They were Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe and Captain Akhilesh Kumar.
Wing Commander Deepak V Sathe was a decorated former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force who flew planes for Air India before he went on to Air India Express flights.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was described as very experienced in flying Boeing 737 planes.
“Captain Deepak V Sathe was from 58th course of the NDA. He was from the Juliet Squadron,” Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retd) was quoted as telling PTI.
“He passed out from Air Force Academy in Hyderabad with a Sword of Honour in June 1981,” he added. He remembered him as an excellent squash player.
“He was very professional and had been awarded the 58 NDA President Gold Medal. He had been a test pilot for the Air Force,” said another officer.
According to reports, Captain Sathe flew Airbus 310s for Air India. He was an accomplished fighter pilot before he decided to become a commercial pilot.
Captain Akhilesh Kumar, his co-pilot, had been married last year.