Rashid Minhas Story

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A few months back I had the opportunity along with a friend to spend an evening with Group Captain ® Cecil Chaudry. Obviously the time was spent discussing his experiences. As it turned out Cecil was responsible for investigating the Rashid Minhas crash back in 1971 and told us a some details which are not known publicly.

The episode has become controversial over the past few decades with some people claiming that the Nishan-e-Haider award was politically motivated and perhaps the young Pilot Officer never deserved it. Also the media and school books information/portrayal of this episode has created some factual distortions. In the interest of history I am reproducing here substantially what Cecil told me about the incident. Obviously given that this discussion took place quite sometime back I do not remember his narration word to word but am reproducing the essential information. Also, I do not claim to have done any independent investigation but I believe that Cecil's narration of events is an important input.

Now coming to the story,

It is important to remember that Rashid Minhas was a very young and inexperienced pilot. The crash took place during his second solo flight on T-33 aircraft. In the run up to the 1971 crisis the PAF had grounded all East Pakistani pilots in PAF and had assigned them ground jobs. As part of this Flt Lt Mati ur Rehman was made the Deputy flight safety officer of the base. The Flight Safety Officer was Flt Lt Basit (if I remember the name correctly).

Flt Lt Basit as FSO used to on occasions do surprise checks on the OCU students at the base. As part of this he used to stop these students while they were taxing out on a sortie and check if they had correctly stowed equipment in the cockpit or would query them on emergency checklists etc. As one would expect the student would get reprimanded if he was found wanting on any of this.

On the day of the crash when Rashid Minhas was taxing out on a dusk training sortie and saw Flt Lt Mati ur Rehman (Deputy Flight safety officer) signalling him to stop he naturally assumed that the purpose was to do a similar check. Therefore, he not only stopped but his attention shifted to the cockpit. This allowed Flt Lt Mati ur Rehman to enter the instructor seat and initiate roll for take off. By the time Rashid Minhas realized this the aircraft was well into the take off sequence. On this Rashid gave a call to the ATC saying that the aircraft is being hijacked. Now this was 1971, aircraft hijacking was not considered an imminent possibility that too in Pakistan and at an air force base. The ATC requested confirmation of the call and got one from Rashid. On this fighters on ADA were scrambled to intercept the aircraft Again as hostilities were not imminent at that time the fighters were not at the highest ADA level (I forget exactly the ADA level Cecil mentioned but I think that it was 10 minutes). However given that Mati ur Rehman knew where the Radar gaps were (being till recently an active pilot) and the dusk conditions an interception was not made.

No further information became available till late at night when the PAF base got a call from a police station near the Indian border stating that an aircraft had crashed near a village bordering India. Next morning a team was dispatched to the crash site. Following this an investigation into the incident was launched.

Now coming to the factors that led Cecil to believe that a struggle for control took place and the crash was perhaps intentional.

As the aircraft overflew a number of villages some eyewitnesses were available. According to them the aircraft was not flying straight and level but was banking or pitching up and down. If Mati ur Rehman had been in complete control of the aircraft this would have resulted in a straight and level flight. Only a struggle resulted in an erratic flight with probably Rashid Minhas trying to control the aircraft in one way and Mati ur Rehman counter acting.

Fl Lt Mati ur Rehman’s body was found some distance before the crash site while Rashid Minhas body was at the crash site, had gone through the instrument panel and in the nose of the aircraft. The aircraft had crashed nose first. Mati ur Rehman’s body also had a sand blasting type effect on one side which indicated that he was blown off from the aircraft and dragged quite a bit on the desert surface.

This evidence linked in with the earlier events. The manner in which Mati ur Rehman took over the aircraft did not allow him time to strap on. During the likely struggle for aircraft control he used his greater experience to counter Rashid’s efforts. Also he was sitting on the instructor’s seat and could over ride some of Rashid Minhas’s actions. However, the option to jettison off the canopy in an emergency was available with both pilots. Near the point of crash Rahid Minhas in his efforts, either intentionally or accidentally, jettisoned the canopy. As Mati ur Rehman was not strapped on he was blown off explaining the way his body was injured and the fact that it was found before the crash site.

This resulted in sudden force on the controls of the aircraft in one direction, as force applied by Mati ur Rehman to control the aircraft was removed. This along with perhaps the effect caused by the loss of canopy, low level and Rashid Minhas’s inexperience resulted in the crash of the aircraft.

I hope this clarifies some of the issues regarding this incident. Personally I would like to get hold of the PAF‘ official investigation report into the incident which should be more detailed and should also shed more light into the incident.

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Yawar,

Very good account, but you did not mention the following.

I some what remember that, the TV serial Nishane Haider's episode on P/O Minhas depicts that, Matiurehaman hit Minhas with a spanner and rendered him unconcious using cloroform before taking over the aircraft and that it took some time before Minhas came back to senses to realise what had happened. Mati gave 2-3 R/T calls to IAF but did not receive any response. I may be wrong but what I remember, 2 officers in the ATC noticed that, Minhas had taken off without their clearance and 2 F6s were scrambled.

Can u confirm if the above had really happened.

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Rashid Minhas story was the "Official PAF" story with no outside the circle input or criticsm, so it happens that that is what everyone saw. By the way, the person who played Mati ur Rehman was Sqd Ldr Asif Jabbar Khan very good neighbore and friend of mine. He flew F-86s and B-57 until their withdrawal. He had told me in detail of his participance in excercise "Fake II" simulated attack on Kahuta in 1981, "Wake VI" simulated attacked on Bombay's port, "Wonders I" simulated attack on Bharati commercial sealanes, and few others. He also evaluated S-3 "Vikings" as an replacement to B-57s in the early to mid 80's.

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Yawar,

Very good account, but you did not mention the following.

I some what remember that, the TV serial Nishane Haider's episode on P/O Minhas depicts that, Matiurehaman hit Minhas with a spanner and rendered him unconcious using cloroform before taking over the aircraft and that it took some time before Minhas came back to senses to realise what had happened. Mati gave 2-3 R/T calls to IAF but did not receive any response. I may be wrong but what I remember, 2 officers in the ATC noticed that, Minhas had taken off without their clearance and 2 F6s were scrambled.

Can u confirm if the above had really happened.

Cecil was very clear on this. As per him Rashid gave the call which led to the scramble. Also it would be difficult to hit somebody with a spanner if he is wearing a helmet. I guess PTV took some 'poetic license'.

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Rashid Minhas story was the "Official PAF" story with no outside the circle input or criticsm, so it happens that that is what everyone saw. By the way, the person who played Mati ur Rehman was Sqd Ldr Asif Jabbar Khan very good neighbore and friend of mine. He flew F-86s and B-57 until their withdrawal. He had told me in detail of his participance in excercise "Fake II" simulated attack on Kahuta in 1981, "Wake VI" simulated attacked on Bombay's port, "Wonders I" simulated attack on Bharati commercial sealanes, and few others. He also evaluated S-3 "Vikings" as an replacement to B-57s in the early to mid 80's.

Its probably best that some of the above exercises are not discussed in an open forum like this one. ;)

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Yawar,

an excellent post! thank you very much. i've been as interested in Rashid Minhas's story like you and would love to have a look at the official reports and stuff too. one thing ive wondered is...the aircraft mustve had a balckbox, the CVR...the CVR must have been found...what messages were there? ofcourse theere must have been some converstaion in the cokpit...anyone knows what might have happened?

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Well, I doubt there was a CVR on the T-33...I doubt any Military contain a CVR or FDR...they are mandated ( that is by law) for civil transport...the only thing of this effect on a military aircraft is an AVTR which again i doubt would have been on a T-33 in 1971....So HarisZ I think nobody knows what went in the cockpit.....

As for the account ,I think it gives us a better picture of what would have happened...I can tell you the wreckage of an aircraft can tell a lot of things .....even by looking at the wrckage you coudl tell a lot about what would have happened....therefore I feel that Cecil Choudhry's account gives us the most valid explaination.

However,there are still certain thing or grey areas that are not covered in the narration...First is the point at which Mati-ur-renham enetred the cocpit.

First of all if we accept that F/L Mati-ur-Rehman,,,,,stopped Rashid Minhas at the taxiway..and entered the A/C thereafter implies that Rahid Minahs had enough time to think and react to the situation.....as U can not take-off off the taxiway....so during the taxing out to the runway Rashid Minhas could have made several call sto the ATC and Mobile...

Secondly..the timing of the evnt doesnt make sense to me ......there is no way a pilot would fly a dusk sortie on his second solo......dusk and night operations are tricky ....so unless you are well into the conversion you are not sent on a dusk mission...not even in a civilian training environmnet...definetly not on your second solo......

Also I am appalled at the way Masroor handled the situation.There were various points at which it should have occurred to the people at base that something abnormal is taking place....why didnt any of the ATC controllers or the Mobile Controller reacted when this T-33 left the taxiway and entered the Runway without permission......in any kind of flying you cannot leave the taxiway and enter the runway unless cleared by the ATC...even if we discount that ..and ATC ignored it as a pilot error it should have made a call atleast.....then obviously he did'nt stop for his Mobile checks....that should have alerted the mobile officers....................then when the A/C commnced the take off roll without permission what actions did the ATC took???

I dont seriously agree on one more thing ...that is the ADA protocol of the day..It may be true that base wasnot on the war footings but even on a peacful day Air Force has fighters on alert duties with 6-9 minutes of scarmble time....why the scramble was not called???? or if called what did they did????

in the end I would like to calrify ,that I have written this to ask ceratin logical questions....and by no means I intend to tarnish the supreme effort made by P/O Rashid Minhas ....He is one of my heroes and i have sentimental belonging to both PAF Base Masroor and No.2 Sqn..to whic h Rashid Minhas belonged and where i have spent the most fulfilling time of my life.

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Didn't know where to put this but doesn't it put to shame most countries, the extent to which the jews will go to get their fallen / MIA back. Compare this witht he kargill skermish and the alleged refusal of PAK to accept the bodies of the dead back.:mad::mad:

www.10million.org

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Compare this witht he kargill skermish and the alleged refusal of PAK to accept the bodies of the dead back.:mad::mad:

www.10million.org

This is not true at all. I strongly suggest to everyone before they make a blanket statement about Kargil whilst the only source are Pak or Bharati media than they need to do some research on this topic.

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Lets keep the dicussion limited to the topic............I know its easier to get astray as we all have some sort of guiding emotions....

anyways I found this on www.bangladesharmy.info

Martyr (Shaheed) Flight Lieutenant M Matiur Rahman, BS

Born: 21 February 1945 at Dhaka. Joined the Pakistan Air Force in August 1961 and commissioned in the GD(P) branch on 23 June 1963. Embraced martyrdom on August 20, 1971 in an attempt to join the Liberation War with a T-33 aircraft from Karachi Air Base which ultimately crashed.

I also got this impression of Mati-ur-Rehman

post-2172-136478950209.jpg

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Would you mind giving out details regarding the distance of the crash site from the Indian border and if infact the defecting pilot instructor was carrying documents that could endanger national security?

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Would you mind giving out details regarding the distance of the crash site from the Indian border and if infact the defecting pilot instructor was carrying documents that could endanger national security?

I dont know the exact distance but I am sure there is no at that point Rashid Minhas could have estimated his ditance from the border.......He wasnew to the area...and may not have flown over that part...specially if Mati-ur-Rehman chose to fly in the Radar blind corridor.

As for the question of document..... what could be a more imprtant document than the man himself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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[. By the way, the person who played Mati ur Rehman was Sqd Ldr Asif Jabbar Khan very good neighbore and friend of mine. He flew F-86s and B-57 until their withdrawal. . He also evaluated S-3 "Vikings" as an replacement to B-57s in the early to mid 80's.

to continue the topic of where some of the cast members are now, it is indeed intresting to note that from the officers who performed in the drama , rose many of the hi-performers of PAF. Two of them rose to the rank of AVM including AVM Abdur Rahim yusufzai who played OC flying Masroor while holding the same office.AVM Iqbal " Boli"Haider played Flt.Lt.Eric ,Rashid's Intructor Pilot in the drama.

The person who played Rashid's buddy Shahid was played by Shahid Alvi, now a Wing Commander and a senior F-16 pilot.The instructor who clears Rashid on his first solo at the acdemy was played by then Sqn.Ldr Sohail Kausar Butt, A fighter pilot to the core whose briliant career was cut short by a medical problem.He left PAF as a Wing Commander and last I knew of him he was in Islamabad serving as a Principal of one of the PAF schools.

This one is I am not sure of but I am 99% convinced ,Pilot Officer Adnan Khan who was one of the coursemates and theone who receives the call from Majeed Minhas on the fateful day is now a Sqn.Ldr and was working in PR directorate last time I met him.

I am yet to come across Farooq Iqbal himself..........then Pilot officer who was picked due to his resemblance with Rashid Minhas......

Ali

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Ali bhai, hi!

hows it going?

nice to see this great thread revived!

thanks for the info. i had been wondering about the presence of cvr etc on the T33, thanks for the calrification that fighter aircraft dont have it. so is there nothing onboard that may record the forensics to deduce series of events?

only God knows what may have happened exactly. and a lot is a mystery but from what i have learnt it was initially an absolute shock for the personnel on the base and though F86s were sent after the T33, they couldnt locate as the T33 flew too low and it was a mystery until late aftrenoon until a crash was confirmed at Shahbandar said to be 30 miles short of the border enroute Jamnagar airbase India. the take off schedule for Rashid Mihas was 1130hrs, daytime as it was only his second solo on the T33 during the FC.

what may have happened at the tarmac while Mati halted Rashid and made him allow him to enter the rear cockpit is confusing and exact detail can only be given by someone who may have been on the tarmac or the ATC...what would have Mati done to make rashid allow his actions that were totally out of line with SOPs. the drama, like yawar above said took a lot of poetc license. but nevertheless the rough outilne of events that we all know, and that which has been revealed by some imp ppl who've done their research on the incident fall in line and put the picture straight. Mati could have been armed.

the chlorofom bit is unlikely, but at what stage would rashid minhas have then decided to make the calls to the ATC confirming hijack...?

in any case, indeed he acted like a true hero and saved Pakistan and PAF from the humiliation of losing an aircraft and two pilots like that. and his act certainly was of extreme valor, trying to avoid crossing the border into enemy territory and creating aircraft turbulence puting his own life in danger. he did prove efficient and decisive and made the right timely decision which made his nation proud and i wish to salute him everyday!

may his glory live forever!

Thanks for the info on the ppl from the drama, that was nice to know :)

especially of AVM abdur Rahim yusufzai, he seemed a dashing officer.

i wonder where Farooq Iqbal is...he played the role well.

i would love to meet Rashid Minhas's real comrades and companions and family.

ACM Kaleem Saadat was his course mate and was with him at masroor. and one interesting thing, if you look at the drama, watch carefully when they show the flight schedule chart before the fateful flight. above the name Rashid scheduled for 1130 there is a name written Kaleem for 1027 or so...

i wonder if its a coinicidence or whether that much attn to detail was given...

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Yes you are right ....ACM kaleem Saadat is from Rashid Minhas course and so was Group Captain Hussaini...............father of aviation art in the region.

As for AVM Raheem Yusufzai, hw was a dashing officer indeed,.....tell you something If you watch Vital Signs Song "Aisay Hum Jiyain".....you cath aa glimpe of him ,He was base commnder Kamra that time.A lot of people wee expecting him to become CAS....but ..........

There was a time PAF such dashing officers were a common thing,,,they were not only dashing but were true fighter pilots and gentlemen................ACM Hakimullah, AVM Abbas " Mickey" Mirza, Air.Cdr. Kaiser.....................the coolest .

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yeah...

Air.Cdr. Kaiser.....................the coolest .

Absolutely!!

The very best!

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QUOTE=YAWAR]"A few months back I had the opportunity along with a friend to spend an evening with Group Captain ® Cecil Chaudry. Obviously the time was spent discussing his experiences. As it turned out Cecil was responsible for investigating the Rashid Minhas crash back in 1971 and told us a some details which are not known publicly.

he used his greater experience to counter Rashid’s efforts. Also he was sitting on the instructor’s seat and could over ride some of Rashid Minhas’s actions. However, the option to jettison off the canopy in an emergency was available with both pilots" Unquote

[i..........................]The Forward and rear Controls i.e The stick,Rudder pedals and Throttles are mechanically linked they all move in unision...therfore an instructor cannot override them.In such a mechanical FCS pilot with more muscle power wins........Rashid Minhas being young and lean was chosen for that reason.......Ali M

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Well by your quote it seems as if these days Pak Airforce is lacking the dashing pilots with the likes of those of yesteryears? Am I getting it wrong, or is it true?

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Well by your quote it seems as if these days Pak Airforce is lacking the dashing pilots with the likes of those of yesteryears? Am I getting it wrong, or is it true?

Dashing may not be the right word......but the breed I am talking about is definitely thinning

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If I were a pilot officer and a senior instructer pilot intercepts me during taxi and asks to get in...would I resist? Of course, not. It is possible that he has instructions to do so. The last thing on your mind is hijacking.

My theory is that Rashid let Mati-ur-Rahman into the backseat...probably thinking it was some last minute instruction...otherwise, he could have blocked his entry by closing the canopy.

The official PAF version is that once he got in and proceeded to takeoff without permission, it was then that the ATC got alerted. After take-off, the ATC tried repeatedly to get into touch with Rashid but Mati had switched the radio channel. However, Rashid managed to get in touch with the ATC and said he was being hijacked. It was at this time that two F-6s were scrambled.

I don't really believe the jettison story. Can a student sitting in the front have the switch to jettison his instructor in the back? It would be foolish for PAF to provide such a mechanism. If he pulled the ejection handle, both seats would have jettisoned. This way, he could have prevented the aircraft from crossing over into India and save himself.

One theory is that Rashid tried to regain control of the aircraft and, in the ensuing struggle, the aircraft crashed. The official version, of course, is that sensing that he was getting near the border, he decided to crash the plane.

Either way, it was Rashid's actions that prevented the aircraft from crossing over into India and that's why he got the Nishan-e-Haider.

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I dont find it very befitting that this thread even exists....

Who are we to question a receipiant of the Nishan I Haider!?

PAF lost many good men in the wars, many died bravely, if we wanted to we could hand out bravey awards like candy, similar to what our Eastern neighbours do. We do not! Even our pilots dont get a confirmed kill in the PAF unless it is independantly verified and gun camera footage and/or wreckage is found.

For the PAF to give the nations highest award to a pilot, I am pretty sure that no matter how the T-33 actually crashed it was inevitably due to the fact that Rashid Minhas wanted to prevent it going to India. He had a choice, he could have listened to his instructor and become a POW and return home alive after the war. No one in the PAF would have blamed him if he chose this cause of action. The reason he did not take the chance of life and rather choose certain death distingushes a PAF pilot from an IAF Gnat pilot who chose to land in Pakistan rather then fight , and dare I say, distingushes Pakistan Fiza' Ya and her pilots from many, many other air forces!

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Yasser ,

First of all no one here is questioning P/O Rashid Minhas deeds....the idea of this thread is to shed some light on some of the events,generally, obscured from view. It is for us who rvere Rashid Minhas as a hero ..to find the logic hidden in his actions so that we could answer those who dont.........

Azam;

I think you have missed some important points in the story..................

1) Mati Ur Rehman was not an IP with No.2sqn at the time....he was DFSO Masroor...so there was no point for him to approach a pilot and give instructions........the most he could do was report an anamoly to the Flt.Cdr (trng) No. 2 sqn.

2) If you had ever strapped yourself in a cockpit, miltary cockpit in particular,you would have known ..how dificult it is to move around your arms ...especially with a 3-point harness which restricts the torso.

3) This was a " Solo " mission.....and in any kind of training flight,miltary or civil......you can not haul passengers just like that ....certainly you cannot hitch a ride on he last moment.................you have to sign-off certain paper work before you could eneter an aircarft dual or single.....So Mati-ur -Rehaman's entry ....by all means was forceful.

4)The instant Mati-ur-Rehman enetered tha cockpit , Rashid Minhas must have become aware of whats coming.The fact that Mati ur Rehman did not stop for Mobile checks and entered the Runwy without permission ....let alone taking off...must have given Rashid Minhas the glaring ques....................so in my mind Rashid Minhas was fully aware of what was happening.

5)As far as jettissioning of IP is concerned..........you got it wrong ....Rashid Minhas did not jettision his instructor,....if you had noticed a previous post of mine I had mentioned that T-bird has Mechanically link controls...that means moving any of thorttle,rudder pedal and stick in one cocpit moves the one in the other.....so gaining the ocntrol of the aircraft is only by force.That puts us to point that in a struggle for the control one of them has incidentally or intentionally jettisioned the "CANOPY".......the resulting slip stream may have sucked Mati -u-Rehman out.....provided he did nt manage to strap himslef in.

I have not seen the bodies or the wreckage myself .....but one of the basic accident investigation que is " the parts found before the wreckage in the flight path , must have failed before the rest".So if the canopy was foud seperate form the wreckage, itt must have been jettisioned.....

Further , sand pitting , collapsed lungs, stretched spinal cord , strecthed lips and nostrils , indicate wind blast injuries on a body.

Last but not the least , Aircraft showed signs of struggle in flight......so wheather Rashid Minhas intentionally pushed the nose over or not .........he did do what an officer of highest calibre would have done....he did not chose the easy way out and in doing so made the supreme sacrifice period.

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absolutely!

the reason why we discuss this with such interest is that all of us who think he was a hero have the urge to know what happened and we want to share views and find out and diacuss the forensics involved. Rashid Minhas was a great hero is a fact no one can question.

maybe we can open mre threads like this and discuss the series of events leading to the martyrdom of other heroes aswell.

Ali bhai, any more info on the injuries recorded on both piolts? Yawar mentions above that RM had entered the panel...

and what exactly are sandpitting, sandbagging and wind blast, thanks!

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Harisz,

As far as the injuries are concerned , I am as knowledgeable as you are.............

Ill try to explain in general terms ;

RM went through the Panel: This is the effect of inertia, when the nose struck the ground it stopped there; the inertia which mean a moving body tries to keep moving must have propelled RM towards the instrument panel, with such a force that his body went through it.........that gives us some measure of speed tne aircraft must be travelling at the time.The speed at the point of impact can also be determined by the angle at which the aircraft impacted the ground and teh way its wreckage is distributed.

If the aircraft strikes the grpung at high speed and low angle.....the wreckage will spread more or less in Peackocks Fan shape...

At high speed and steep angle wreckage s found in a compact area.

Coming to Sand Blasting etc: if you have tried sticking you r mouth out of a fast moving car .....you feel like you cannot breath any more...isnt it..the reason is the high velocity air has lower pressure , that low pressure sucks ut oxygen in the lungs...

Imagine that happening at speeds around 250 knots....what such speed will do to llungs

Sand Blasting on a body is the same same as sand blasting you do tho on your car's wind screen to print registration .What it does that it blast fine sand at very high sped at wind screen that scapes a fine layer off wind screen.....

Usually Air at low altitudes has sand or fine particles, so when a boody is subjected to face it at very high speeds the larger particles put "pits" in the exposed skin.

Wind Blast is when a body is inserted suddenly into a stream of fast moving air, since the corner of teh lips, ends of nostrils and corners of eye sockets are weak and the stress is all concentrated on those points , a sudden exposure to wind blast may either sheer them off or inserts a crack line that extends from these corners to further inward.

In the aircraft accident , the only thing that causes fatality is change in lateral and vertical accelarations.I dont know how many of us follow F-1 racing but to give you an example of this is the death Ayrton Senna....the impact of his car to the barrier was not much , but the cahnge in acceleration caused his neck to thrust forward so rapidly that it broke.........that is ehy nowadays F-1 drivers have to wear a neck restraint.

I hope that is sufficien to explain your queries

Ali

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I am not questioning the actions taken by Shaheed Rashid Minhas to prevent the hijacking of his aircraft. But could that incident be avoided by jettisoning the canopy or ejecting while the aircraft was still on the ground before take off when he became aware of Mati-ur-Rahman' s intentions??

Just a thought...

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