Indian Air Force  Trivia Page

The New York Times Extract


The following is an extract from the New York Times of Dec 6th 1971.

Dacca watches Spectacular air battles.

"....the defending anti aircraft had shot down four aircraft in the raids, including one Su-7 which landed intact, the Pakistanis had claimed. So at 12.30 The newsmen were taken to the dacca airport to see a downed MiG-21. The Newmen arrived just in time to be strafed by Indian MiG's which destroyed two out of the three small single engined UN aircraft.

Several television cameramen lied on their backs during the attack filming the indian planes attacking thru a blaze of Anti Aircraft fire. One was hit and Crashed outside the airport."

Webmasters Note: I am sure people would be interested to see the television crew's film of the Indian bombers raid. Has any one out there seen it?



The Ghost Orphanage.


On the fifth day of the Bangladesh War,  India had achieved complete air superiority, in the skies over bangladesh,  and amidst the numerous war reports and stories, came the disturbing story of how, Indian MiGs had hit a Orphanage at Dacca, trying to bomb the runway.  300 children were killed or missing or trapped under the rubble, and pictures of the destroyed building accompanied the report. The IAF was hard put to explain this ghastly mishap.

Two days later the American consulate in Dacca reported that it couldnot confirm that the orphanage specifed in the story was actually destroyed, as they did not see any damage to it. Sealing the nail in the coffin was  An Indian Air force photo reconaissance mission which filmed the orphanage building without damage to it. No more stories about orphanages being bombed appeared in the press.



From Zeros to Canberras


All the senior officers of the IAF during the 1971 War were vetarans of the Second World war. A few officers at the Squadron commanders level too flew during WW2. All of them either in The RIAF, The RAF or the British Naval Fleet Air Arm. One of them however was a veteran who flew on the wrongside.  with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. Wg Cdr R S Benegal, the OC of No. 102 S P R Squadron, who flew Photo Recce Canberras during the War, was during WW2, shortilisted by Subhash Chandra Bose, Indian National Army as the INA's first representation to the Air Fighting. He was shortlisted for pilot training with the japanese air force academy, He survived his ship sinking after being torpedoed by an American Submarine, and finally with Nine other Indians reported to the Japanese air force academy, where he recieved, flight training. However,fortunately for Benegal, The War came to an end before he could go to the frontline.  becoming a POW with the british, discharged in 1946, He joined the IAF in 1952, flying in both the 1965 and 71 War, earning a Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the latter conflict.


Father and Sons and Daughters


On October 7,1992 as a part of the celebrations of the Diamond Jublee of the Indian Air Force, Six father-son teams flew and demonstrated their aerobatic skills in various parts of the country. This was the only occassion when  so many father-son teams took to the air.

  • Air Marshal Bedi and Fg Off Sartaj Singh Bedi  flew a MiG-21U at Hindon.
  • Air Vice Marshal Suburamu and Fg Off Suburamu flew Two MiG-21 bis fighters.
  • Air Vice Marshal Janak Kapoor and Flt Lt Vivek Kapoor flew in a Kiran II Trainer.
  • Air Vice Marshal D N Rathore and Flt Lt A Rathore flew in a MiG-23U Strike Trainer.
  • Air Cmde D S Basra and Flt Lt H S Basra flew a MiG-21 and a Mirage 2000 together in formation.
  • Gp Capt J J Joseph and Pilot D Joseph flew a HS-748 Transport at Bangalore.

The Only occassion when a Father-Daughter combination took to the air was in the Air Force Academy Dundigal when Air Marshal K M Nair , the commandant of the Academy  flew along with his daughter a Flt Cadet in a Kiran II.


India's Paratroopers.


Everybody remembers the Paradrop of the Indian 2nd Para at Tangail in 1971 as India's only usage of Paratroopers in the para role.or is it?

India contributed a Para Field Ambulance under Col A G Rangaraj (The first indian paratrooper) as a part of the UN force in Korea. They Participated  in the Paradrop outside Seoul as a part of the Inchon Landings.

The 17th Para Field Regiment, the only Artillery Regiment in the Indian Army was paradropped at Thagla Ridge by IAF C-47s just before the commencement of hostilities in 1962, They dropped along with their Howitzers, which were then hauled onto the tsangdhar plateau and assembled. The Battery was later overrun by the Chinese.

Paratroops were "heli dropped" in the IPKF Operations. and "airlifted" in the Maldives Coup.


Fighters Graveyard                           


The Arabian sea off Cochin is a huge graveyard for WWII fighter planes. The Royal Navy's FAA sqns were based at cochin towards the end of WW2. They were equipped with a variety of Aircraft ranging from Avengers to Hellcat fighters to Martlets. Towards the end of WW2, thease squadrons were disbanded and all the aircraft were disposed off, by pushing them off the carriers into the sea. so off cochin there is a huge graveyard of aircraft, underwater, a Warbird treasure, Surely.


Sorry Mate! You have to pay duty on that ....err...fighter thingy of yours.!!


This amusing story is of the Indian Navy;s Sea Hawks. In 1960, At the end of the first ferry flight, one of the pilots landed at the Jamnagar airport by mistake, instead of the military field. There he was approached by the customs official and told, that unless he paid the customs duty on the fighter, the aircraft will be impounded by the Central Customs and Excise Department. Obviously they never heard of Inter Departmental Cooperation.

The Naval Pilot's reply is not known.



More  Facts and Stories


Back to Trivia Page