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SRI LANKA AIR FORCE
GUARDIANS OF THE SKIES
footer_roundelSLAF History : The First Jets Arrive
Jet Provost handing over ceremony - 1959All things were considered, the RCyAF pilots coped well with their latest acquisition and first ever jetaircraft. Even though history does record one hiccup, there was no fault of the pilot. The RCyAF was practicing for the Independence Day Fly Past in 1960 the Jet Provosts were in flight formation when one of the aircraft experienced a flame out.

The pilot, Sqn Ldr Noel H. Lokuge broke formation and ejected from the aircraft which later went down into the Negombo Lagoon. Sqn Ldr Lokuge himself also landed in the lagoon. This was the first time a pilot had to eject from his aircraft in the RCyAF.
     
The Oxford Airspeed was phased out in 1958, whilst the Balliols went into storage in 1959.

The Civil side of things

1958 saw the first signs of civil unrest in Ceylon the Sinhala/Tamil language issue. The RCyAF was called upon to assist the other armed services in maintaining law and order. In June 1959 the country was again beset with a disruption to an even tenored civil life, with major industrial action taken by workers at the Colombo Port. The whole of No.18 recruits' course (then at Diyatalawa) with an SNCO and two JNCOs in charge of each flight came under the command of Flying Officer P.T. De Silva (Admin) and were despatched for duty to Colombo. The RCyAF men began to work the ships and ensure that the country's vital supplies kept flowing in, without undue delay. Also in 1959 the country lost a Prime Minister, the Hon. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike to an assassin's bullet on the 26th of September. The passing out parade of No. 18 recruits course was in progress at Diyatalawa, when the news reached. The Commanders of the Navy and the Air Force left immediately for Colombo aboard a Pioneer aircraft, and the Services were alerted for ceremonial funeral duties.
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