Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Monday flew a sortie in a MiG-21 fighter aircraft along with IAF Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.
“The sortie was flown from the Pathankot airbase in Punjab. Abhinandan had been cleared for flying last month following a thorough medical check-up,” a senior IAF officer said.
Varthaman’s fighter jet was shot down during Pakistan counter-attack on February 27 following India’s airstrike on terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot. He had been captured by Pakistani security agencies only to be released to India around 60 hours later at the Wagah border.
The Indian Air Force Chief is also a MiG-21 pilot and had flown the planes during the 1999 Kargil war while commanding the 17 Squadron, during the war.
Last month, it was reported that Varthaman has started flying after medical clearance. The officer is posted at a MiG-21 Bison airbase in the western desert.
Abhinandan had been grounded due to ejection from his MiG-21 which had been shot down in aerial conflict with Pakistan Air Force F-16s.
Indian Air Force Fighter Controller Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal, who guided Varthaman during the flight, had last week told ANI in an interview that she had seen the ace pilot shoot down the Pakistani F-16 which went off the radar soon after the hit.
Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role in the February 27 operations where India thwarted Pakistani attempts to take down Indian targets in the Naushera sector.