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Old 23rd November 2014, 08:49   #61
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

Well, can't say how many as it's not the appropriate place to share but enough to keep them combat ready.

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Old 23rd November 2014, 09:16   #62
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by sheelz View Post
Well, can't say how many as it's not the appropriate place to share but enough to keep them combat ready.

Cheers
Ok, no problem. I'm always a little amazed at the relative low flying hours of most military pilots. Like I said, in the west its all public information. If anything its where our tax dollars/euro's go, so its well publicized.

In the USA there are lots of airports around that have both civilian as well as military users. So during my flying years I met quite a few military aviators, from fighter to helicopter to tanker, cargo etc. Recently it was announced that the average American military pilot only rakes up 120 hours a year. That's less then I used to do.

I know its a bit of a apple to pear comparison, but still. The only way to actually rake up some hours is to be send overseas on an actual (combat) mission,

A friend of mine flies Apaches Helicopters and he was send to combat with just 500 hours total. Today you need 1500 hours (plane) or 1200 (helicopter) to qualify for an ATP in the USA. So these guys are going to war in the middle east with less then half the hours then the first officer on Boeing 737/Airbus 320.

Again, you can't compare, but still.

Jeroen
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Old 24th November 2014, 21:28   #63
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

One lesser known fact is that W.E.W. Petter, the designer of the Gnat was approached by the Indian Govt, in the mid-1950s, to set up a nucleus design team and design and build an indigenous fighter bomber in India. I don't know hat transpired. Eventually Dr. Kurt Tank took the role and gave birth to the HF-24 Marut.
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Old 27th November 2014, 15:36   #64
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Pardon my ignorance, could you kindly explain the photograph?
sai_ace, the photo link posted by Hserus is a famous photo taken on 4th/5th December 1971 during the battle of Longewala. The video link below gives a snap shop of that aircraft versus tank battle in which a Hunter squadron of the IAF, led by Wing Commander M.S. 'Mini' Bawa, destroyed 50 plus Pakistani tanks that were part of a group readying themselves for a thrust on Jaisalmer. These are the tank tracks in the desert made by the enemy force as the scurried to escape. Mini Bawa rose to be an Air Marshal before settling down in South Delhi for his retirement. Hope you enjoy the video.

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Old 22nd December 2014, 20:03   #65
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
As most BHPians would know the Gnat acquitted itself with honours in the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971. In 1965 Squadron Leader Trevor Keelor became the first Indian jet fighter ace by shooting down a Pakistani F-86 Sabre Jet. Shortly thereafter, not to be outdone, his brother Denzil Keelor, who later rose to be an Air Marshall, also shot down a Sabre Jet. Trevor passed away in 2002; Denzil lives in Delhi after retirement.
Mods - Don't know if it is ok to share this incident from my childhood days.

Just stumbled on this post today and it has brought back lot of memories. I remember painting all windows black and using only candles in the night even though we had electricity. It is only later I came to know that we were at war with Pakistan.

I was in 1st standard in Siliguri (Himatguri near Baghdogra) with Keelor (don't remember if it was Trevor or Denzil) as our neighbour. One day my dad's Vespa 150 brake cable had broken and he had replaced it. The broken cable was one of my toy and I used to play with it. One day Keelor's wife saw me playing with the cable and asked if she could borrow it. She took the cable and opened the hood of their Austin car and then after also went below the car. After few minutes, I saw her driving the car. Evening I told my dad everything that happened and he told me that Uncle is in hospital with serious injuries and she requires the car to be able to go back and forth between 151 GH Siliguri (my dad was a Army doctor there) and home and it is ok if you have lost your cable. He also told me that Uncle is famous and has shot down a sabre jet and he is popularly known as sabre killer. As kids we used to discuss how gnat is superior to sabre jet. I do not know what she did that time. Most probably she did some jugaad to fix the accelerator cable. Later on, on many occasions, I used to see her fixing all issues with the Austin. I believe, he was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries

Last edited by mbhangui : 22nd December 2014 at 20:08.
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Old 27th December 2014, 14:47   #66
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
Sorry to be picky, but the Mig-21 bis and Mig-21 "Bison" are two very different versions of the Mig-21.

The Mig-21 bis first flew in 1972 as one of the ultimate versions of the aircraft and was manufactured from new.

The Mig-21 "Bison" are upgraded earlier versions of Mig-21s for the IAF and the first prototypes were delivered in 2001. These are not newly manufactured aircraft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...iG-21_variants
Yes my bad. Thanks for the info. I am obviously referring to the Bis.
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Old 28th December 2014, 20:32   #67
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

I am tempted to write on the Mig-21 especially with reference to its record in the IAF and its contribution to developing aircraft manufacture supply chain in India. But I hesitate to do so because of the crashes and bad press that has covered this aircraft in the last 10 years. In its time the Mig-21bis was an electric machine. May be the HF-24 is a safer bet!
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Old 28th December 2014, 22:46   #68
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
I am tempted to write on the Mig-21 especially with reference to its record in the IAF and its contribution to developing aircraft manufacture supply chain in India. But I hesitate to do so because of the crashes and bad press that has covered this aircraft in the last 10 years. In its time the Mig-21bis was an electric machine. May be the HF-24 is a safer bet!
Mr Narayan, your writings have great educative value, being unbiased and based on first hand experience. In contrast, what appears in the Indian press is paid news manipulated by various vested groups.

So please do not hesitate. Do write about the MiG 21 also!
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Old 29th December 2014, 22:13   #69
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
Mr Narayan, your writings have great educative value, being unbiased and based on first hand experience. In contrast, what appears in the Indian press is paid news manipulated by various vested groups.So please do not hesitate. Do write about the MiG 21 also!
Dear directinjection, thank you for the encouragement. I am preparing a piece on the HF-24 Marut covering the development story, the aircraft's technical parameters, its operational record and its sad pre-mature twilight and the attitudes of the IAF. I still struggle with how to paste multiple photos and insert captions (PC illiterate!) Ajmat has been most helpful with this. Will do a piece on the Mig-21 after that (maybe in March'15) covering in addition its role in developing the Indian aircraft production industry. Thank you for your compliments. Regards, Narayan
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Old 2nd January 2015, 09:45   #70
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by bullock-Car View Post
Wonderful compilation, a book recommendation for the lovers of aviation and history, "not much of an engineer" is an autobiography of sir Stanley hooker, a mathematician who went to design historic engines.
Dear bullock-car, Thank you for bringing up Sir Stanley Hooker the designer of the Orpheus turbojet that powered the Gnat. It is remiss of me to have written an article on the Gnat and not given Stanley Hooker his due. For the reading of BHPians Sir Stanley Hooker (1907 - 1984) played a major part in the British Air Force's (RAF) Fighter Command’s success in the Battle of Britain. He developed the supercharger on the famous Merlin Engine that powered the Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane. This enabled the Spitfire to fly at higher altitudes with better power reserves and take on the German Luftwaffe Me 109 on equal terms. He later worked with Sir Frank Whittle to develop the first Allied jet engine and got Rolls Royce to provide Frank Whittle with resources which the British bureaucracy refused back in 1941. He later designed the Rolls Royce Nene turbojet that powered several first generation jet fighters the Seahawk (subject of the article http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...dian-navy.html) and the Mig-15 (through reverse engineering by the Russians), the French Dassault Ouragan (also used by the Indian Air force in large numbers) and by the Americans in the Grumman F9 Panther. It could be called the first fully reliable mass produced jet engine that went into world wide service. Sir Stanley Hooker was a mathematician by trade and had been written off early in his career as 'not much of an engineer'. A modest man who underplayed his achievements, Hooker titled his autobiography “Not much of an engineer” . He designed the Rolls Royce Olympus a highly versatile engine that powered first the British Vulcan bomber, then the famous Concorde and was later evolved into a marine gas turbine for warship propulsion that continues in service with several navies, even today, 55 years after the first Olympus ran on its test bed. He was the father of the Orpheus turbo jet that powered the Gnat.Photo below of Sir Stanley Hooker and the Gnat's engine, the Orpheus.
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Old 13th January 2015, 19:29   #71
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

No story of the Gnat or its successor Ajeet is complete with credits going to Group Captain Suranjan Das. He was one of two of India's first test pilots having graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School, UK in 1949.
In his career with the IAF he conducted the bulk of the testing on the HT-2 our very first indigenous design (a single engined trainer), was the chief test pilot for the HF-24 Marut and the first to fly it in 1961, later he was the first to fly and test the HJT-16 Kiran (jet trainer). With the Gnat he performed yeoman work testing the aircraft with the British (and later HAL) and provided a vast amount of inputs on corrections needed on the Gnat to make it a stable flying platform and cure it of its many, initial, problems with aerodynamic controls. Once while test flying the Gnat he was doing an eight-point roll. He suddenly felt a restriction in the aileron control and the aircraft going out of his control. Instead of ejecting out and saving his life he very calmly started talking on the radio explaining what was happening and giving his suggestions on corrective measures he was trying to apply to retrieve the aircraft from spiraling into an unrecoverable tail spin. He asked the Air Traffic Control to ensure that his comments were recorded just in case he could not recover and was killed! He did recover and worked with the designers on rectifying the problem. This incident gives us a glimpse into the man and his character. Das was killed in 1970 while testing a Marut version with reheat engines (think of them as the aviation equivalent of turbo charged pistons). He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously for his services to the nation.
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Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6-dasgnat.jpg  

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Old 19th January 2015, 20:40   #72
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

HAL Ajeet cutaway drawing courtesy Pilot Press - red circles mark the key improvements over the Gnat (described in the main article). You can double click on the photo to enlarge it for better reading :-

(A) #54 Integral fuel tanks in the wings of approximately 225 to 250 litres in each wing. Integral means the external skin of the wing is fully sealed and the internal volume is used to carry fuel within the wing's internal structure. This enabled the Ajeet to dispense with the drop tanks that the Gnat perforce had to carry to make up for its limited internal fuel capacity.

(B) #57, 52, 123, 107; the 4 weapon pylons that were rated at 500 lbs /227 kgs each for carriage of weapons or fuel. This gave the Ajeet a useful light ground attack capability in the context of South Asia. Sadly the pylons were never married to the French Magic Matra infra red guided air to air missile which would have been an effectiveness multiplier for the Ajeet in air combat

(C) #29; the Martin Baker zero-zero ejection seat. A zero-zero rating means the ejection seat works even if the aircraft is stationary and on the ground ie zero speed zero height. Earlier seats typically needed some forward speed and often some minimum altitude to function.

(D) #22; the Ferranti ISIS gunsight that was effective for both interception gun aiming as well as for discharge of ground attack munitions

(E) #3, 5, 6, 8; some upgrades were done on the avionics. But by the 1970s the avionics of the Ajeet were very basic even with the standards of that time.

(F) #117; the gun ammunition feed mechanism was modified to ensure the gun did not jam at the wrong moment. In the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict on more than one occasion IAF pilots had the enemy in their gun-sight and pressed the firing button only to discover the Gnat's guns were on strike.

(G) #118; the landing gear was strengthened. Note how the covers for the landing gears acted as airbrakes. This was one of several weight saving features designed into the Gnat by WEW Teddy Petters the designer

(H) #75; the 'flying tail'. This means the entire horizontal tail plane moves as a unit at various angles to make the aircraft turn or to help keep it stable. At transonic speeds, ie speeds close to Mach 1.0 an aircraft can experience a shift rearwards in the center of pressure due to the buildup and movement of shockwaves. This causes a nose-down pitching moment called 'Mach tuck'. Significant trim force may be needed to maintain equilibrium, and this is most often provided using the whole tailplane in the form of an all-flying (ie moving) tailplane. This improved the Ajeet's aerodynamic control at high speeds relative to the Gnat


This pretty much wraps up the story of the HAL Ajeet. I look forward to the insights of the aviation enthusiasts like direct injection, Jeroen, Foxbat, John Doe, torquecurve and others. This article has been my first ever foray onto the internet and your reading and comments have been very encouraging. Thank you. - Narayan
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Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6-ajeet-cutaway-copy.jpg  


Last edited by V.Narayan : 19th January 2015 at 20:41. Reason: additions
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Old 20th January 2015, 13:28   #73
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Ok, no problem. I'm always a little amazed at the relative low flying hours of most military pilots. Like I said, in the west its all public information. If anything its where our tax dollars/euro's go, so its well publicized.

In the USA there are lots of airports around that have both civilian as well as military users. So during my flying years I met quite a few military aviators, from fighter to helicopter to tanker, cargo etc. Recently it was announced that the average American military pilot only rakes up 120 hours a year. That's less then I used to do.

I know its a bit of a apple to pear comparison, but still. The only way to actually rake up some hours is to be send overseas on an actual (combat) mission,

A friend of mine flies Apaches Helicopters and he was send to combat with just 500 hours total. Today you need 1500 hours (plane) or 1200 (helicopter) to qualify for an ATP in the USA. So these guys are going to war in the middle east with less then half the hours then the first officer on Boeing 737/Airbus 320.

Again, you can't compare, but still.

Jeroen
I think a lot of it has to do with the number of hours spent on a simulator. IIRC I read somewhere that for every hour in the air a pilot nowadays spends about 4 hours on a simulator. So the 500 hours total is like 2000 + 500 hours. In contrast a commercial pilot is required to actually practise landings and t/o more in real world situations though a lot of the training is also through simulators
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Old 22nd January 2015, 12:10   #74
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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I think a lot of it has to do with the number of hours spent on a simulator. IIRC I read somewhere that for every hour in the air a pilot nowadays spends about 4 hours on a simulator. So the 500 hours total is like 2000 + 500 hours. In contrast a commercial pilot is required to actually practise landings and t/o more in real world situations though a lot of the training is also through simulators
Couple of thoughts on that:

In civil aviation when we talk about total hours, it includes everything that counts towards flight time. Total includes single engine, multiengine, instruction received, turbine, type, pilot-in-command, and instrument conditions, and it can even include things like rotary wing time. And when and where applicable simulator time can be included in the total as well.

So if you would look into my logbook, there is a running total on each page and per page you will have a break down along the mentioned different type of hours.

During a pilots career you continually will have student and simulator hours.

You start as a student and even during your student flying time for your PPL (Private Pilot License) some of the hours can be flown on an approved simulator. So in my case I did and passed my check ride and thus obtained my pilots license after a total of 42 hours. All of those hours are labelled student hours, and 3 hours were on the simulator. There is a further differentiation on hours under instruction, hours flowns solo, night hours etc. But all those hours count towards the total, including simulator time.

Once you have your PPL most will go for their instrument rating.

Again those hours where you are flying an actual plane under the hood as they call it or registered as student hours, even though you hold a pilot license. And again, as part of your IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) you can built a certain number of hours on approved simulators.

The above is as per FAA regulations, as that is the system I'm licensed under and most familiar.

Full motion level D simulators are incredible realistic and there are various type ratings that are actually done on the simulator and none in the real aircraft. Especially for first officers, they might go straight from the simulator to the right seat with not a single hour or a single take off/landing in the real aircraft.

Here a link to a commercial company that can get you certified according to Indian DGCA and it requires no actual flying, only simulator time.

http://www.aag.aero/courses/type-rat...g-indian-dgca/

To be fair, commercial pilots built significant number of hours, usually well over 800 per year. So once you have logged 10.000 hours or more the hours flying outweight the number of hours as student/simulator time by a very large margin.

I dont know how it works for military pilots. Would be interested to hear what sort of simulator time they clock. Also, as far I know, most fighter simulator tend to be static and not full motion. You can learn and practice a lot, but I doubt its good enough to learn to fly properly, let alone to really lear to fight etc. Also, even full motion simulators will not be able to simulate a high G environment.

Jeroen
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Old 22nd January 2015, 12:41   #75
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Default re: Indian Aviation - HAL Ajeet, the Folland Gnat Mk II. EDIT: 1965 war IAF documentary on page 6

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
This incident gives us a glimpse into the man and his character. Das was killed in 1970 while testing a Marut version with reheat engines (think of them as the aviation equivalent of turbo charged pistons). He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously for his services to the nation.
There is a road in Bangalore which I believe is named after him.

This road connects DRDO residential layout, Gas Turbine research institute (which worked on Kaveri engines for LCA), LRDE, BHEL and HAL aerospace wing to HAL airport.

MAP link
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