A MiG-21 combat aircraft of the IAF on Friday crashed near Uttarlai airport in Rajasthan’s Barmer district but the pilot ejected safely.

The plane was on a routine sortie and the incident occurred at around 11.30 AM when the pilot was preparing for landing, he said.

The pilot, Flying Officer Amit, ejected safely, Defence PRO S. D. Goswami said.

A court of inquiry has been ordered, he said.

This is the sixth air crash involving IAF’s fighter aircraft this year and the fifth belonging to the MiG-21 series warplane.

In view of the increasing number of accidents involving the MiG-21 aircraft type, the IAF has decided to phase them out by 2017.

The force is also planning to allow only experienced fighter pilots to fly the plane from next year.

Of the total 976 MiG-21s inducted in the service since 1960s, over half of them have been lost in air crashes.

Keywords: MiG-21 crashes