Wing Commander Sathe had also served as test pilot with Air Force

Deepak Vasant Sathe, the captain of the ill-fated Air India Express Boeing 737 aircraft that crashed at Kozhikode on Friday, had bagged the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ on passing out from the Air Force Academy.

The former IAF fighter pilot belonged to the 58th Course of the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, where he was a gold medallist, Air Force sources said.

Thereafter, he moved to the AIr Force Academy, Dundigal, and was part of the 127th Pilot’s Course, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ for topping the course.

Wing Commander Sathe had also served as a test pilot during his stint with the Air Force. He was commissioned in June 1981 and retired in 2003.

He had also served with No.17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, which has recently been recommissioned with the IAF's latest acquisition, the Rafale fighter jet.

He was a passout of National Defence Academy’s 58th batch and had received the President Gold Medal. Capt Sathe was awarded the prestigious Sword of Honour.

According to sources, Sathe was very experienced on the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which he flew with the national flag carrier. Earlier, he had also flown the Airbus A-310.