Riding the Wind : A Test Pilot's Story

The book is essentially an autobiographical narrative of the author`s experiences as a Fighter pilot and a Test pilot, spanning over his entire flying career of 50 long years, containing unique experiences of historical value. The book perforce contains technical aspects of various types of aircraft flown and tested by him; Trainers, Fighters, Bombers, Transport aircraft, Helicopters, Sailplanes, and Hang Gliders. An effort has been made to present the same in as simple a manner as possible so that even a lay reader can get a fair idea of what Fighter flying and Test flying entails. There are numerous accounts of life-threatening emergencies faced by the author as well as some uncommon dare-devilry indulged in. There is also a spattering of events other than flying, which would give the reader a flavor of the type of life and times the author has been through during his flying years.

Vij Books
  • Pages: 198
  • 9789388161640 • HARDBACK • Jul 2019 • Rs.850
  • 9789388161657 • EBOOK • Aug 2019 • Rs.550
  • Subjects:
  • Riding the Wind : A Test Pilot's Story
author details
Wg Cdr P Ashoka was born in Indore, MP in 1934. He joined National Defence Academy, Dehradun, in 1950 and after 2 years there, joined Air force Academy in Begumpet, Secunderabad in 1952 for Flying training. He was commissioned as Pilot Officer in Jan 1954, and posted to a Fighter Squadron. From 1954 to 1962, he served in various Fighter Squadrons of the IAF. ln early 1963, he was selected for a Test Pilot's course in the prestigious Empire Test Pilots' School at Farnborough, UK, where he graduated with flying colours, winning two trophies at the graduation ceremony. On return to India in 1964, he was posted at Air force Station, Kanpur as a test pilot, where he stayed for four years. From 1968 to 1992, he worked with Hindustan Aeronautics as a test pilot, initially on deputation, and later got absorbed as a full time test pilot. He was the Chief Test Pilot at HAL Kanpur from 1968 to 1975, then at HAL, Nasik from 1975 to 1983, and finally at HAL, Bangalore from 1983 to 1992. At HAL, Bangalore he also held the post of Executive Director, Flight Operations, at HAL Corporate Office from 1987 to 1992, in addition to being the Chief Test Pilot there. On retirement from HAL in October 1992, he was invited to join National Aerospace Laboratories at Bangalore as Scientist Emeritus and Test Pilot, till he ended his flying career in October 2002 at the age of 68 years.
His passion, daring and drive during his 4 decades in the challenging field of test flying, earned him many commendations and awards, and bestowed upon him the status of a legend. Now, at 84 years of age, Wg Cdr Ashoka leads a retired life with his wife, Meera, at Bangalore. Their daughter Vrinda and son Dileep are both married and settled, and are in regular touch.

Types of Aircraft Flown by the Author
1. Call of the Armed Forces 
2. Learning to Fly 
3. The First Jet Fighter of the IAF 
4. The First Transonic Jet Fighter of the IAF 
5. The Smallest Transonic Jet Fighter 
6. Test Pilot Training 
7. Early Years as a Test Pilot 
8. Aircraft and Armament Testing Unit 
9. Test Flying Transport Aircraft and Gliders 
10. Supersonics 
11. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Bangalore Part I 
12. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Bangalore Part II
13. Test Flying Light Aircraft
My Brother Wg. Cdr. P. Gautam, MVC and bar, VM
The Family