Like a God-send, Captain Bagawan Singh emerged from scratch to serve the nation in various capacities. Even his name (Bagawan – Hindi for God) speaks loudly about his achievements and contributions.
He not only helped keep the nation’s sovereignty intact but also helped bolster the country’s aviation industry.
Bagawan, who turned 60 on Feb 28, has trained dozens of pilots for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the corporate world, and helped establish helicopter companies for wealthy businessmen, reports New Straits Times.
He went a step further nine years ago, to establish his own helicopter company — Helistar Resources Sdn Bhd at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor.
After his stint with the air force, Bagawan told the newspaper that the knowledge and skills acquired came in handy later on when he was able to establish aviation wings for corporate companies. These include Mofaz Air, Helitrade Sdn Bhd, Innovest Aviation and Management Services Sdn and Weststar Aviation Services Sdn Bhd.
Recalling his early days, he told the newspaper that he was initially trained to fly the fixed-wing Bulldog B102 at RMAF Alor Star, in 1977, before advanced training on the Alouette III helicopter at RMAF Kluang, Johor. He later flew Alouette III and Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri helicopters operationally for the RMAF and also trained young pilots.
Apart from flying, Bagawan had also captained the RMAF hockey team. Later he managed the RMAF and Armed Forces hockey teams.
In civilian life from 1993 onwards, he flew an assortment of helicopters, including Bell variants (206 BIII, 206 LIII, 206 LIV and Bell 407), AS350Bs, AS365Ns and EC120Bs.
In 2004, Bagawan’s family immigrated to New Zealand to cater for their children’s tertiary studies. But he remained in the country to keep his career and business afloat.
Today, Helistar has undertaken a multitude of missions from chartered flights to resorts, surveillance for plantations and timber, disaster relief operations and even filming of Hollywood and Bollywood movies.
“It has been a long and arduous journey. But the blood, sweat and tears have eventually paid off. I started my company with just one helicopter. Today, we operate four helicopters and have a dedicated team of pilots and crew,” the veteran, who served the RMAF for 15 years, told the newspaper.
Bagawan has seen it all in his four decades as a helicopter pilot, clocking tens of thousands of flight hours. He saw action during the communist insurgency, assisted in natural disasters and humanitarian missions, carried surveillance for the authorities, done timber screening for logging companies and flown charter flights for corporate clients, the report added.
In response to the story, Asia Samachar received a note from Major (Rtd) Suwaran Sikh Dhillon, a retired Malaysian defence personel, who had the chance of meeting Capt Bagawan in 1991 when the former was posted at the RMAF Kinrara.
“I was posted there as AC (Rank of Private in RMAF). This “God Sent Man” motivated me to join Officer’s Corp. By then I had already signed my GA (General Application) to join as RMAF Commissioned Officer.
“In Oct 1991, after an atending an interview under his guidance I was successfully choosen to join RMAF Cadet School as Officer Cadet at RMAF Subang where Capt Saab was an Instructor. I was trained under his leadership for about 6 months (He left Service by then). I was commissioned as 2nd Lt RMAF on 13 Oct 1992 and remained in RMAF till I took optional retirement in April 2014 (Last Rank as Major RMAF). Very greatfull to this gentleman who had inspired me and changed my journey in RMAF. Thank You Sir.”
Capt Bagawan will be joining the Mega Gathering of Malaysia Singapore Punjabi Automotive 2018, a get-together of Punjabi automotive enthusiasts from Malaysia and Singapore at Khalsa Land at Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor, on 18 Aug 2018. See here.
To read the full NST story, go here.
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