SOURCE: Bangalore Mirror Bureau
One of India’s top experimental test pilot Group Captain (Retd) Harsh Vardhan Thakur (50) tested Covid-19 positive at the beginning of this month, along with his wife, Varsha Yadav. The couple who had a fever for a couple of days decided to get themselves tested at a private lab and on September 1 the results were out saying that they had contracted the virus. However their son who lives with them had tested negative.
Thakur who is HAL’s Deputy Chief Test Pilot (Fixed Wing) was entitled to health care benefits and had the option to get himself and his wife admitted to a hospital. However he took the advice of the doctors from both the BBMP and HAL and opted to be treated at home.
“The BBMP doctor had said that admission to a hospital was not required as the symptoms were not severe. Having served in the Indian Air Force for 24 years and now in HAL for the last four-five years I believe that the government agencies give you the best advice. I followed them and decided to undergo home quarantine,” Thakur said.
The couple stayed at their home for 17 days and during the quarantine period they were contacted by their local BBMP counselor every day who sought updates on their health.
“We completely isolated ourselves from the outside world. We have a two storey house. While my wife and I stayed on the second floor, our son stayed on the first floor. We hardly came out of our room except to go into the kitchen. During this period we were contacted every day by the doctors and also the local councillor. The doctors knew about our comorbidities and advised us accordingly,” he added.
Thakur’s job involves test flying prototypes, new and upgraded aircraft and flight testing is said to be one of the most demanding and challenging professions in the world.
After he tested positive, flying activities were suspended for two weeks as all eight test pilots at HAL’s flight complex had to undergo quarantine as per the PSU’s guidelines. Now Thakur has completely recovered is once again back in the cockpit and flying sorties.
“I resumed flying from September 21 onwards. Initially I felt a little weak but now I am fine. I have been flying with a co-pilot and will once again start flying solo from next week onwards. I am happy to be alive and flying once again. I have been testing prototypes and from Friday would start flying fighter jets. The Jaguar would be the first fighter I would be flying post Covid-19,” he said.
Covid and after : These are hard times and we have so many cases. Follow guidelines, follow the advice given by medical practitioners and counsellors. If you test positive, do not stress. Follow what your doctors say.
Advice : Mask is a must. Wear it throughout the day while going out and even while speaking on the phone. Maintaining three feet or six feet distance has gone with the wind and the only way to keep yourself protected is to wear masks.