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Old 10th July 2018, 23:17   #16
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Default Re: Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay

Another marvelous Aviation thread from you, sir! Thank you for sharing.

If you do not mind, I would like to share some pics of one of my favorite airliners ever, and its association with India. It is the Sud Aviation Caravelle.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-vtdwnindianairlinessudaviationse210caravellevin_planespottersnet_099162_b89856a163.jpg

The Caravelle is often forgotten among the oft shared pictures of Air India's glorious Connies, 707s and the 747s. While the Caravelle did not fly for Air India, it flew for Indian Airlines - its first jet aircraft, and India's first domestic jet airliner.

The Caravelle was not an intercontinental jet like the 707 or the Douglas DC-8, but was built to serve shorter routes, the world's first short-haul airliner. It was actually one of the earliest successful airliners in service. At the time when it entered into service, the Jet-Age had just started with only a handful of jets flying.

Infact, especially after the Comet debacle and the frightful rate at which the first generation of jets consumed fuel, most airliners were circumspect of the future of the jet aviation. Many were slow to order new jets, instead convinced that the best way to go would be to slowly replace their fleet of radial piston-engine props, with prop-jets. The British were very good in prop-jets and introduced some elegant and successful ones like the Vickers Viscount and the Bristol Britannia.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-1564410large.jpg

Therefore, for medium-sized French company to risk a lot and develop a short-haul jet aircraft was commendable. Today, there are basically four global companies that can make a jet-airliner from a clean sheet of paper. In 50s and 60s, before the bankruptcy, nationalization, mergers and consolidation Britain, Europe and America had 20-30 aircraft companies. The pace of engineering and research was staggering, both in civil and military aviation. Today, one would be lucky to see one clean sheet civil airliner being made in a decade. Back then, aviation was changing day by day. My favorite period of aviation.

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The Caravelle then was very elegant, suave and very French. A name that rolls of the tongue nicely, and that nose is still stylish today. It had these unique triangular shaped windows, and served Indian Airlines well, flying along the trunk routes.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-15871461100x640.jpg
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Old 10th July 2018, 23:42   #17
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I apologize for going into different heading...

But the talk of the Caravelle reminded me of two aircraft.

One is the Dassault Mercure. Another French short-haul jet airliner. Looks like a 737, doesn't it? Well it was developed to compete against the American. But Mercure was not as lucky as the Caravelle and it failed disastrously. Just 12 examples were built. Building jet airliners was already very costly business by then. But it did have a beautiful name. Ah, the French!

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-1141.jpg

The other is the Avro Canada Jetliner. The story of the Jetliner is tragic. The Canadians actually beat the Americans in getting a jet airliner into the sky. The Avro Jetliner flew a few days after the DeHavilland Comet, in 1949. The Americans had no answer to the Avro. They were far behind, and nothing similar was even in prototype stage. The Canadian jet evinced a lot of interest from Americans. However, economics, politics and Korean War lead to the cancellation of the Canada Jetliner. One of Canadian aviation's biggest regrets.

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This along with the another Avro whose life was cut short by external factors, the Avro Arrow. Both of these are an amazing story, especially the Arrow. Spectacularly controversial, and one of aviation's biggest 'What if?'


Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-avroarrowunveiling.jpeg



Today, Airbus showed the world the A220. A billion-dollar badge job, since the aircraft is actually a Bombardier CS. Poor Canadians still getting robbed of their airplanes.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-a220.jpg
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Old 11th July 2018, 09:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
If you do not mind, I would like to share some pics of one of my favorite airliners ever, and its association with India. It is the Sud Aviation Caravelle.
The Caravelle is often forgotten among the oft shared pictures of Air India's glorious Connies, 707s and the 747s. While the Caravelle did not fly for Air India, it flew for Indian Airlines - its first jet aircraft, and India's first domestic jet airliner.
Dear @Avishar, it is a delight to see a young man so knowledgeable about aviation. Please do jump in and write all you want. Thank you for bringing in the Caravelle. I should have included it in post number one. And now you have done a marvelous job in filling the gap. The Hawker Trident were offered instead by UK as an alternative. The Trident trials at Calcutta and Delhi revealed its inability to take off on a hot afternoon with a useful payload. The Caravelle had a staircase at the rear under the tail. This design feature was later put into the Boeing 727 and some Russian Tupolevs and Yakolevs. The Caravelle was also the first airliner to feature aft mounted engines.
Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
I apologize for going into different heading...
But the talk of the Caravelle reminded me of two aircraft.
One is the Dassault Mercure. Another French short-haul jet airliner. Looks like a 737, doesn't it? Well it was developed to compete against the American. But Mercure was not as lucky as the Caravelle and it failed disastrously. The other is the Avro Canada Jetliner. The story of the Jetliner is tragic. The Canadians actually beat the Americans in getting a jet airliner into the sky. This along with the another Avro whose life was cut short by external factors, the Avro Arrow. Both of these are an amazing story, especially the Arrow. Spectacularly controversial, and one of aviation's biggest 'What if?'
Thank you for sharing all three. Metaphorically speaking there must be 7 people in India who have even heard of these fine machines. I bet skanchan95 & Foxbat are amongst of them! The Airbus 220 will do better in the Airbus fold than it ever could with Bombardier. Bombardier design great but overly complex airplanes that win on stated performance but are way too maintenance heavy and their complex systems prone to failure. Just sharing my own direct experience & not criticizing them. To succeed this aircraft needs the kind of after sales support that Airbus can provide.

Coming back to Indian civil aviation history....

The first Indian Airlines Boeing 737-200 flight into Leh, January 1979. That is an integrated staircase under the door just about to pop out. This pioneer flight was commanded by Capt. AM Kapur who was trained by the IAF transport pilots on how to make the steep approach into Leh.
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Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-dscn0325.jpg  


Last edited by V.Narayan : 11th July 2018 at 09:25.
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Old 11th July 2018, 10:58   #19
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Thanks a lot. Indeed lot of information.
I am going to go through this page repeatedly and with my Kids too
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Old 11th July 2018, 16:02   #20
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Amazing thread Sir .

All your aviation & armed force related threads are immensely informative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post

Attachment 1734497
Aspy Merwan Engineer (1912-2002) an all time aviation great of India who has not got his due recognition. At the tender age of 17, in 1929, he flew solo from England to India in a de Havilland Gypsy Moth and won the Aga Khan prize of GBP 500 -Rs 25 lakhs today. He did this in an era when you navigated by the sun, the star and the railway track below and guessed the speed & direction of the wind. He did not have a driving license yet! The aircraft, above, that he flew was powered by a 100 hp engine and cruised at ~140kmph. And we complain today of cars being underpowered at 100 hp!
This para gave me goosebumps. Today, in the era of automation we take all things for granted. But this is an example of how technology really evolves over the time.
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Old 11th July 2018, 18:51   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
One is the Dassault Mercure. Another French short-haul jet airliner. Looks like a 737, doesn't it? Well it was developed to compete against the American. But Mercure was not as lucky as the Caravelle and it failed disastrously. Just 12 examples were built. Building jet airliners was already very costly business by then. But it did have a beautiful name. Ah, the French!
On the topic of the Mercure, here is a lovely little video by a very stylish Youtube channel.


For any aviation afficionados on here, I would thoroughly recommend Mustard for his little videos on intriguing aircraft through history. Each video is astonishingly stylised and well researched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post
Today, Airbus showed the world the A220. A billion-dollar badge job, since the aircraft is actually a Bombardier CS. Poor Canadians still getting robbed of their airplanes.
Actually if memory serves me right, this had to do with a trade dispute Bombardier was facing. I believe Boeing had launched a complaint with the US Trade Commission against the Bombardier CS (something they are hoping will be their golden goose for the years to come). Cynics will point out it might be because Boeing clearly doesn't have a direct competitor and hence they put forward their complaint. What Bombardier needed was for the CS to have an American manufacture or at least assembly base. Well guess who was happy to step in with their facility? Airbus. Airbus gets a quick win in terms of having a jet in a segment they are personally lacking, they have the US domestic manufacturing and assembly base to make it in, thereby invalidating the crux of the argument put forward by Boeing and it's supporters to the Trade Commission and finally good old Bombardier gets guaranteed sales and a portion of it - knowing that they now have the full might of the Airbus sales team behind their product. If I had to use the example of the petroleum industry I'd call it a farm-in for those familiar.
That at least is the gist of the story AFAIK. (As as aside IIRC Boeing is hoping to do a similar badge job for one of Embraer's new smaller commercial jets - so this isn't altogether uncommon in today's duopoly commercial aviation industry)

PPS Found the video!
Again Wendover Productions is a highly recommended youtube channel worth subscribing too. I've not wasted many hours learning about different things on there.

Along with the Avro Arrow and the Northrop YF-23, I think you have 2 of the most infamous what-ifs of the aviation geek world that invite hours of debate.

Anyway that was a tangent. This was such an insightful thread as ever V Narayan! Well worth the wait for your work.
It really is a shame how Indian domestic capability regressed from the cautious but positive incremental forward steps made in the 60s and 70s. I mean Air India from the looks of things was a slick operation back in the day, not beset by the lumbering woes it faces today. Sigh.
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Old 11th July 2018, 21:28   #22
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It is always a pleasure reading your enriching articles, Narayan Sir. Few years back read about one Indian gentleman Mr. Purushottam Kabali, considered to be among the First Indian Pilots.

Here is the link to interesting article:
http://www.hampshireairfields.co.uk/...lds/vtaat.html
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Old 12th July 2018, 07:27   #23
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Wow, Wow and Wow! What a treasure trove of information and pictures. Amazing collection and collation.

Mr Narayan, I have taken the liberty of cross posting this thread on airliners.net. This deserves attention of the anetters out there. Cheers!
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Old 12th July 2018, 18:01   #24
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This thread is going somewhere thanks Narayan for keeping ill informed internet readers like me filled with credible and detailed libraries like this.

Good to see that we are getting more contributors "filling gaps" and this thread is going places.

Infact, in connection with your other old threads on IAF, I had infact met a South African pilot (commercial) on his rounds of for license conversion to TZ as a part of setting up a new private airline there. He spoke of Douglas DC-3's and infact was a part of duties with the RAF to bring in DC-3s from all over the world to replicate the Normandy Landing (WW-II I presume). They did this this last month.

I had used the insights I had learned from your threads to speak to him about the DC-3s which served IAF. I think the DC-3s were in news recently when the Govt of India gifted one to Bangladesh as well.

Eagerly waiting for more updates here.
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Old 12th July 2018, 23:14   #25
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Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-.jpg
In 1982 JRD Tata re-enacted his solo flight from Karachi to Mumbai of 50 years previously. He flew in an aircraft that was a close cousin of that original machine.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-a2.-airmail.jpg
This is considered the first airmail letter delivered by an Indian carrier to a foreign destination. To commemorate the forthcoming first ever international flight of Air India postage stamps were issued on the day of the flight.

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-a3.jpg
Before the IAF adopted its current well recognized roundel we, for a short period, had the Ashoka Chakra as our military marking. Here seen on a late mark Spitfire c.1948. Note the 5-blade prop. Through almost all of WW-II 3-blade props were the norm. By the end of the War prop design and engine horsepower outputs had both reached a point that made a 5-prop feasible. The evolution from 5 blades to 6 and 7 blades came only about 50+ years later when composites permitted ever more complex three dimensional twists to the blade.

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The de Havilland Vampire entered service with the IAF in 1948 two years after its debut with the RAF. It was a steady safe first generation jet built also as a two seat conversion trainer that made it possible for pilots to graduate from piston-props to jet flight. The IAF became the first Asian air arm to go 'jet'. Note the twin boom supporting the tail and the centrally mounted engine. It was unnerving for pilots to be seated at the front with no whirring prop in front. The Vampire was assembled in India and served in the frontline till 1965 and with training units till ~1970. The Vampire's top speed of 880 kmph (475 knots) is similar to the cruising speeds of most airliners today. This photo from 1958 is of a test flight flown by Group Capt Kapil Bhargava one of HAL/IAF's foremost test pilots who later played a key role in testing flying the Marut fighter-bomber

More when I write on the history, achievements, war records and misses of the IAF and other air wings of the Navy and Army. Au Revoir
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Old 13th July 2018, 19:16   #26
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Capt D K Jatar, the First Officer of the inaugural flight on Malabar Princess, seems to be a familiar name. Was he the Commander of the Kashmir Princess, the ill fated Air India charter flight which had to ditch in the South China Sea in April 1955?

The commander, who did not survive the crash (three others on board were rescued) later was awarded the Ashoka Chakra posthumously and was the first civilian recipient of the honour.
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Old 13th July 2018, 20:58   #27
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Capt D K Jatar, the First Officer of the inaugural flight on Malabar Princess, seems to be a familiar name. Was he the Commander of the Kashmir Princess, the ill fated Air India charter flight which had to ditch in the South China Sea in April 1955?

The commander, who did not survive the crash (three others on board were rescued) later was awarded the Ashoka Chakra posthumously and was the first civilian recipient of the honour.
You have a deep knowledge of aviation and matters linked to aviation flight safety.

Yes it is the same Capt DK Jatar who lost his life in the mid-air time bomb explosion of VT-DEP Kashmir Princess in 1955. He had taken the aircraft to Hong Kong to pick up the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and fly him to the Bandung conference on non-aligned nations. As the Chinese did not have any long range passenger aircraft Pandit Nehru offered this gesture. The aircraft was blown up in mid-air by a bomb planted by Taiwanese agents trained and provided for by the CIA in an attempt to assassinate Zhou Enlai. Zhou Enlai changed his travel plans at the last minute under the pretext of an appendicitis operation but let his juniors continue with the flight even though he had learnt of this planned assassination. He did so to conceal from the Taiwanese & CIA the fact that his Govt had moles within the opponents intelligence network.
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Old 16th July 2018, 13:37   #28
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Some final photos on the history of India's civil aviation...

Indian Aviation: A Historical Photo Essay-ai-advt.jpg
Air India issued this advertisement in the London Illustrated News on the occasion in 1960 of the Boeing 707 jetliner coming into service


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A little known fact is that Air India under JRD's leadership was one of the first few airlines to order the revolutionary de Havilland Comet in 1953. The Comet was the world's first ever jet airliner. the other major airlines that ordered the Comet were BOAC of course, Air France, QANTAS, Japan Air Lines and PanAm. This advertisement appeared in British magazines of the time inserted by the manufacturer de Havilland. Sadly the Comet was withdrawn due to metal fatigue problems and Air India switch to the Boeing 707.
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Old 17th July 2018, 15:14   #29
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Great thread with memorable photographs and narratives.

It would be great if this thread is augmented with some more information on Indian Airlines, especially on Fokker F27 Friendship, A 300 (IC was the first domestic airliner in the world to buy the A 300), Vayudoot & it's fleet / destinations etc.
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Old 18th July 2018, 16:15   #30
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What a wonderful post. I am from Bengaluru and needless to say i am familiar with HAL. My father-in-law used to work in HAL. To be honest i thought HAL is a mediocre effort from Indian air defense until i read this article. Till yesterday i believed, Tejas was the first indigenous aircraft built. Thanks to Narayan, now i have grown to respect HAL for its efforts with Maruth and Gnat. There is a locality in bangalore named after Maruth called Marathalli. Brings me joy reading this article. If admins permit, i want take a print-out of this article and keep it. It's well scripted.
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