Fali Homi Major

Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC served as the 21st Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, taking office on 1 April 2007, and becoming the first helicopter pilot in the service to be promoted to the office of Chief.[1] He retired on 31 May 2009, and was succeeded in office by Air Chief Marshal P V Naik.[2]

F H Major

Born29 May 1947
Secunderabad, Hyderabad State, British Raj
(now in Telangana, India)
Allegiance India
Service/branch Indian Air Force
Years of service31 December 1967 31 May 2009
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held Eastern Air Command
Sarsawa Air Force Station
129 HU
127 HU
Battles/warsKargil conflict
Operation Pawan
Awards Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Shaurya Chakra
Vayu Sena Medal

Air Force Career

Air Chief Marshal Major was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on 31 December 1967 as a helicopter pilot.[3] During his long and distinguished service spanning little over 39 years, he worked in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. Besides being a Fellow of the National Defence College, New Delhi, and the Army War College, Mhow, he attended a variety of courses like Junior Commanders' Course, Jungle and Snow Survival Course and Higher Command Courses. He was appointed Joint Director (Helicopter Operations) and Director Operations (Transport & Helicopter). In 1999, he took over as the Air Officer Commanding Leh (Ladakh), in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict.[4]

Credits and awards

He held the distinction of having 7,765 hours of flying experience to his credit.[5] For his leadership, successful accomplishment of tasks and distinguished service of a very high order, he was awarded the ‘Ati Vishist Seva Medal’ in Jan 2002. He was promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal in Feb 2002 and appointed as Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Personnel Airmen & Civilians) at Air Headquarters. On promotion to the rank of Air Marshal in Jan 2004 he moved to HQ Integrated Defence Staff as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations) and directed the relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations of the Indian Armed Forces, in India and abroad, in the aftermath of the Tsunami. On 5 Sep 2005, he was appointed as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. That tenure saw the successful conduct of three major international air exercises with the United States Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force and the French Air Force. He was awarded the ‘Param Vishisht Seva Medal’ by the President of India on 26 Jan 2006.[6]

He commanded a helicopter unit, which took part in operations in Siachen, the world's highest battlefield and commanded a Mi-17 squadron during the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka, for which he was decorated with the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).[7]

While serving as a Group Captain, FH Major was awarded Shaurya Chakra for undertaking a very dangerous and exacting rescue mission on 14 October 1992 at Timber Trail in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, where he along with his crew, winched eleven stranded tourists out from a cable car, by hovering precariously close to the set of cables that ran above it.[5]

Param Vishisht Seva Medal Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Shaurya Chakra Vayu Sena Medal General Service Medal Samanya Seva Medal
Poorvi Star Medal Pashchimi Star Medal Siachen Glacier Medal Operation Vijay Star Medal
Special Service Medal Sangram Medal Operation Vijay Medal Operation Parakram Medal
Sainya Seva Medal High Altitude Service Medal Videsh Seva Medal 50th Anniversary Independence Medal
25th Anniversary Independence Medal 30 Years Long Service Medal 20 Years Long Service Medal 9 Years Long Service Medal

Career after the Air Force

Major served as an Independent Director of Air India. He was also a member of the National Security Advisory Board to the Government of India.[8] He has served as an Independent Director at Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited since 2016.[9]

Personal life

Major was born on 29 May 1947 in Secunderabad, Nizam's Dominion. He is an alumnus of Wesley High School, Secunderabad. Air Chief Marshal F H Major is married to Mrs Zareen Major and has one son and one daughter.[10] He also belongs to the 'Parsi Zoroastrian' community and is an avid golfer and a cricket fan.[10]


Military offices
Preceded by
SP Tyagi
Chief of the Air Staff (India)
31 March 2007 – 31 May 2009
Succeeded by
P V Naik
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