It was a promise that Lt Cdr Rahul Nair could not keep. Some months ago, Nair had promised to return home soon to sample his mother’s cooking.

On Wednesday, Nair and fellow pilot Cdr S.K. Maurya lost their lives during the Indian Aviation 2010 air show in Hyderabad.

The pilots, having more than a thousand flying hours to their credit, were flying the Kiran MkII aircraft, which was inducted in the armed forces in the 1980s.

Post the crash, the Indian navy has grounded the fleet of 20 Kiran trainer aircraft.

The crash has left many concerned over the safety of these big birds used by our armed forces, let alone whether they are completely functional and serviceable for a war.