Muktsar: A young Air Force pilot was killed on Thursday when a MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed about 10 km from Bhatinda airbase near here.
Flight Lieutenant Manu Akhouri, who was in his mid-20s, had taken off from the Bhatinda airbase on a routine training sortie and was returning to the base for landing when the mishap occurred, an IAF spokesman said in Delhi.
This is the eighth IAF plane crash this year and Akhouri is the fifth fighter pilot to die in an air mishap this year.
The crash occurred at Bhaliana village on Muktsar-Bhatinda road at 14:17 IST, Muktsar Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said over phone.
A court of inquiry has been ordered into the mishap, the IAF spokesman said.
This is the third MiG-21 crash this year.
On June 18, a MiG FL had crashed in Chabua in Assam and the pilot had bailed out to safety. Another MiG-21 had crashed on May 27 near Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
The first air force crash this year took place at Bidar air base in Karnataka when a Surya Kiran aerobatic team pilot R S Dhaliwal was killed after a Kiran Mk II trainer crashed.
The IAF had a major setback when its frontline fighter aircraft Su-30 MKi crashed near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on April 30 killing another fighter pilot R S Nara.
A MiG-27 had crashed near Jodhpur on May 15 but the pilot bailed out safely.
Apart from these aircraft, the IAF had also lost an AN-32 transport aircraft at Jorhat in Assam in which 11 armed forces personnel were killed on June nine.
Another HPT-32 trainer had crashed near Medak in Andhra Pradesh on July 31 in which two fighter pilots were killed.