April 14, 2024
Jeet Aerospace Institute on the outskirts of Pune is home to a MiG-21FL C601 displayed on its premises. The death of a young MiG-21 pilot in 2001 resulted in a cascade of events - and one of the outcome being the erection of this aircraft in an institute that was created to help spread awareness about aviation among the youth..

The story of how MiG-21FL C601 ended up on the Sinhagad road on the outskirts of Pune has its root in one tragic night in September 2001. On the 17th of that month, Flt Lt Abhijeet Gadgil, was taking off in a MiG-21M from Suratgarh airfield on a night exercise. Soon after takeoff, the aircraft had a trim runaway which caused the aircraft to pitch up. Abhjeet Gadgil overcorrected the situation and the aircraft dived into the ground and exploded  killing him.

Normally that would have been the end of the story. But Abhijeet Gadgils parents, Kavita and Anil Gadgil started a public interest campaign about the MiG-21 aircraft. Especially in the quality of spares and training.  They created the Abhijeet Aerospace Safety Foundation to encourage safety awareness and spread the interest of aviation among the general public. The AASF made inroads in the areas of education and training to encourage our youth to consider aviation, specifically military aviation, as a promising, adventurous and rewarding career.

Mrs Kavita Gadgil talking to visitors in front of the MiG-21FL C603 at Jeet Aerospace Institute
The MiG-21FL is very neatly erected on a perch – three concrete pillars that keep the aircraft pretty much out of reach.
The AASF soon launched the Jeet Aerospace Institute.  Amongst its numerous initiatives is the Flight Simulator being mounted on a mobile platform. The idea behind a fight simulator is to travel with it to various places and get people to experience the thrill and adventure of flying. Towards this effort Mrs Gadgil wrote to the IAF to request an airframe for the institute and in due course MiG-21FL C603 was provided to the institute.

C603 was an airframe that was built around the late 60s. Possibly a direct russian import, the aircraft would have been in service during the 71 war. 

  A clear view of the rear fuselage showing the tail number.
Mrs Kavita Gadgil and Mr. Anil Gadgil with a photograph of their son – late Flt Lt Abhijeet Gadgil.  


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Further Information:

Jeet Aerospace Institute http://www.jeetaerospace.org/ Address: Gut No. 137, at Gorhe Budruk, near Donje Phata, off Sinhgad Road, Pune 411025.

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