The IAF History Thread

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby shiv » 29 Aug 2010 21:12

To commemorate its Golden Jubilee in 1982 the IAF produced a set of matchboxes containg 12 boxes of matches each bearing a picture and description of the aircraft in IAF service. After watching these boxes degenerate at home for 28 years I decided to scan them and put up the pictures.

Jagman - if you think these images are better off in the IAF gallery let me know - I will email them to you.

Each image is >1 Mb

Image

Image

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 29 Aug 2010 22:08

Shiv, Shall we say that anyone who still have these match boxes are old crusty dyed in the wool IAF fans? :rotfl:

Here are mine* - incomplete compared to yours. but same deteriorated condition

Image

Image

Image

* well.. i cant take credit for procuring and keeping them - they were a gift from another crusty old IAF fan himself.

Coming to the whether I want the pics - yes sir - yours is a complete set and they can go into the Collectibles Gallery

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby shiv » 06 Sep 2010 09:57

For the record - a single page scanned from Air Commodore Sajad "Nosey" Haider writing about the MM Alam incident
Image

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 28 Sep 2010 16:51

Just came across this amazing article ...

http://www.aerospaceindia.org/Journals/ ... 0Diary.pdf

...These are a few pages from the dairy of pilot who probably has undertaken the
maximum number of actual operational flying missions in the Indian Air Force since
independence...

09 DECEMBER, 1961

The weather was bad in the morning. After a good breakfast at the (Indian
Army) Jat Mess, we went to Flight Office. I was down for the same old Shamrock
and targets on orders of Tiger Control. TOT (time on target) was 1430 hrs. I
reached the target in time and Dushyant‡ was already there. Weather over E-ville
was good. Tiger Control was asking Dushyant to pin-point the post office. I
joined in. After some time, it was pin-pointed, and Dush went in for the attack. I
followed him. I was flying “898” —- a good aircraft. I gave a fairly long burst on
the building. Even as I was firing, I felt it a great waste: what could the 20mm do
against a concrete building? All the
same, I completed the attack before
pulling out.

But in the next attack, I decided to
concentrate on the two aerials on top
of the building —- transmitters, it
appeared. Once in the attack, I put the
sight on a small grove of trees —-
there was bound to be something
worthwhile hidden there. With the
trigger pressed, as I came closer, I let the sight ride up to the transmitters. I could literally see the bullets hitting the
transmitters.
I eased the pressure on the trigger with a satisfied feeling. And pulled out.
Bang! .... Crash!!
I heard a loud thud and something in front of my eyes appeared to be shattering.
Suddenly, I realised that a bullet from ground fire had hit the left side
of the windscreen. There was a big hole on the port side, and a smaller one on
the starboard side. Pieces of Perspex was all over, flying virtually into my face.
There was the roaring like surf in the cockpit: as if a great dam had burst. But
the aircraft was still responding: and through the noise of the cockpit I could
hear —- or rather feel – both engines whining away placidly, stoically. So it
couldn’t be all that bad I thought. I mentally thanked Rolls Royce.

...


It isillustrated with some rare pics

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 28 Sep 2010 17:24

Yep, its a good one (and an old one - has been linked from BR Congo section (Both old and new) since it came up o the caps site)

Was also reproduced in Jasjit Singh's 75 Yrs IAF book

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 06 Oct 2010 20:20


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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 19 Oct 2010 01:50

FWIW...

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.as ... 2002_pg1_5

...

In 1990, ...

When he went to meet Indian premier VP Singh, Mr Gates told New Delhi that Pakistan was ready to close training camps and that the possibility of nuclear war had not been mentioned during talks. Without the knowledge of the government ministers, chief of the Indian Air Force sent one of his MiG-29 planes over Chagai and Kahuta on a reconnaissance mission. This went undetected by Pakistan but the US feared this could have easily been seen as the calm before the storm.
...

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 19 Oct 2010 02:59

Very good account of the Congo war sorties. Is the gentleman, Charanjit Singh still alive?

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 19 Oct 2010 03:51

yes he is Raja. He is the brother of Air Cmde Jasjit Singh of IDSA CAPS fame.

Charanjit later got the Vir Chakra in the 1971 war - As did Air Cmde Jasjit Singh - making the the rare brother pair that got the Vir Chakra with the IAF (Just like the Keelors)

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby ramana » 19 Oct 2010 04:32

Jagan, Wasn't Air Cmde Jasjit Singh the head of planning for 1971 or am I mistaken?

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 19 Oct 2010 06:00

Jagan wrote:He is the brother of Air Cmde Jasjit Singh of IDSA CAPS fame. 8)


I guess one learns something new every day. :mrgreen:

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 19 Oct 2010 06:11

Ramana, He was a Squadron Leader at that time - I think he was in either Air HQ staff or Command Staff and volunteered to fly with an operational unit. One of the few pilots to fly Mysteres during the 71 war( the Mysteres were on their way out by then). His Brother Charanjit was a Sqn Ldr with No.106 Squadron which was led by the legendary R S Benegal

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 22 Oct 2010 00:10

Image

2006 Helicopter Squadron - "Kivu Hawks". For some reason IAF created an adhoc squadron for the MONUSCO mission. We have never done that before for any of our expeditionary forces ... what gives?

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 22 Oct 2010 00:25

Nice. Heard some vague stories earlier. First time I am seeing some "concrete" info.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 27 Oct 2010 08:28

We have all kinds of people watching us. Just found out that the Official Pak Army site is linking to BR - Its their Arty REgt Page that uses the BR 71 losses page to 'dabba marofy'
http://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk/AWPRevie ... spx?pId=22
Despite this handicap anti-aircraft units were employed judicially and fought with gallantry, according to an Indian web site (http://www.Bharat-Rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... s1971.html). 48% losses were caused by ground fire compared to 30% air to air combat losses.


Anyways what is interesting for me are the claims for siachenglacier
Deployment at Siachin
From October 1995 to June 1997 total of 17 Indian helicopters were destroyed out of which 4 are confirm hits.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 31 Oct 2010 14:11

Jagan wrote:Nice. Heard some vague stories earlier. First time I am seeing some "concrete" info.


Well, here is some more info from BR :wink:

...Wing Commander Sunil Kumar (17713) Flying (Pilot) is the Commanding Officer of IAF Squadron 2003, part of the Indian Air Force Contingent in Congo since 01 Aug 2003....

....Squadron Leader Manu Chaudhary (19896) Flying (Pilot) has been on the posted strength of Indian Air Force Squadron 2004, part of IAF Contingent in Congo since 13 Jul 2003. ...


My assessment is that given the semi permanent nature of the deployment, the air force is rotating personnel from all squadrons while the helicopters remain there. Accordingly there is no point in crediting one HU for the task.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Airavat » 12 Nov 2010 11:35

IAF to celebrate its victory in the battle of Longewala in 1971

The Indian Air Force will celebrate its victory in the battle of Longewala in 1971 -- where its fighter jets destroyed a large number of intruding Pakistani Patton tanks -- by organising a ceremony on December 5 in which a host of heroes of the war will be felicitated.

Fighter jets like Mirage 2000, MiGs and attack helicopters like M-17 and an acrobatics team from the Akash Ganga are expected to participate in an air show organised as part of the ceremony. IAF sources said that the celebrations would begin from December 4 but the Longewala celebration will be organised at Air Force Station at Jaislamer near the Longewala battleground. Retired officers like Air Marshal M S Baba and others will share the memories of the war at the event.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 13 Nov 2010 18:20

sarkar wrote:I was looking though some of my old stuff and found this Indian Air Force Calender(2008).
Posting few images of it. It has some cool artistic illustration of Indian Air Force's history.

Image

...

Image
This one is probably the Atlantique Incident

...


Not sure about the first one, but definitely the Atlantic one is inaccurate since the MiG fired a R-60 from the intruder's six, not guns from starboard as the painting suggests.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 13 Nov 2010 19:07

The atlantique painting is based on the one published in vayu of the Soni-Middlecoat encounter in 71. The aircraft iscopied right dwn to the tail number

http://www.flickr.com/photos/55462783@N ... 253458865/

vs

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... inting.jpg

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby darshhan » 14 Nov 2010 17:38


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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 22 Nov 2010 05:21

Pakistan Army has claimed the serial number of Nachiketa's MiG-27ML as 1135. Perhaps they should have checked the series before claiming one, as the air force has assigned them a 3-digit serial number (TSxxx)! Also, unlike A/L Ahuja MiG-21 they have also never shown the wreckage.

On 27 May 1999, Gunner Sepoy Shafaqat Ali commanded by Capt. Faheem Tipu, Pakistan Army Air Defence shot down an IAF MiG-27ML using an ANZA-II SAM. The IAF fighter (Serial No. 1135), was flown by Flt. Lt. K. Nachiketa of No. 9 Squadron, IAF pilot who ejected and was taken prisoner. The IAF fighter was shot down after intruding into Pakistan airspace at 11:15 a.m. (PST) near Marol-Hamzi Ghund, Pakistan. Aircraft intruded into Pakistan airspace twice - it first marked a Pakistani position on the LoC with smoke bombs and then came in for a rocketing and strafing attack on the same post. It was shot down during the second attack as it exited. Wreckage fell on the Indian side of the LoC. IAF Pilot captured and made POW. Released on 4 June 1999.

Also on 27 May 1999, Naik Talib Hussain Basharat commanded by Capt. Faheem Tipu of the Pakistan Army Air Defence shot down an IAF MiG-21 using an ANZA-II SAM. The IAF fighter (Serial No. C1539) was flown by Sqn. Ldr. Ajay Ahuja of No. 17 Squadron, IAF, who was killed. The IAF fighter was shot down after intruding into Pakistan airspace at 11:35 a.m. (PST) near Marol-Hamzi Ghund, Pakistan. Aircraft was one of two IAF MiG-21s which targeted and then came in for a rocketing attack on a Pakistani post on the LoC. It was shot down while engaged in the attack at a height of 1,500 metres from ground level. Wreckage fell 10-12 kilometres inside Pakistan. Body of IAF pilot handed over to India on 29 May 1999.

On 28 May 1999, Lance Havaldar Muhammad Kamal of the Pakistan Army Air Defence shot down an IAF Mil Mi-17 Helicopter using a Stinger SAM. The crew of the IAF helicopter comprising of Flt. Lt. S. Mulihan, (Pilot); Sqn. Ldr. Rajiv Pundir (Co-pilot); Sgt. P.V.N.R. Prasad (Flt. Gunner); Sgt. Raj Kishore Sahu (Flt. Engineer) of No. 152 Helicopter Unit, IAF were all killed. The IAF helicopter was shot down after intruding into Pakistan airspace and rocketing Pakistani positions on the LoC in the Mushkoh-Drass sector. The gunship was shot down as it exited after carrying out the rocketing attack. Wreckage fell inside Indian-held Kashmir.


If the country's army continues to tell untruths to its people - that too on live television... you cant blame its people for living in denial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bzxYvw8Uo

There are some other interviews of PA officers... this one was interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmU7uoJBxQc (Capt Romail Akram)

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby svinayak » 22 Nov 2010 05:25

Aditya G wrote:Pakistan Army has claimed the serial number of Nachiketa's MiG-27ML as 1135. Perhaps they should have checked the series before claiming one, as the air force has assigned them a 3-digit serial number (TSxxx)! Also, unlike A/L Ahuja MiG-21 they have also never shown the wreckage.

If the country's army continues to tell untruths to its people - that too on live television... you cant blame its people for living in denial:

The point is the western media also follows their version. That is the real mystery and also danger for India.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 22 Nov 2010 05:46

Aditya, wheres that pak army quote from? Their official website? For the first time I am seeing an acknowledgement that they dont have the wreckage :)
Aditya G wrote:Wreckage fell on the Indian side of the LoC.


Ofcourse this was stated by Air Marshal Menon in his Kargil article earlier.

The No 2's aircraft flamed out immediately after weapon release and the pilot had to eject prior to his aircraft impacting with a mountain side. During parachute descent he drifted across the LoC, was taken as POW by the Pakistani forces and was returned to India on June 3, 1999.


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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 23 Nov 2010 00:39

Hi, its from one of the youtube links I posted above ... but its copied as is over several websites. But do you think that this source is credible as a citation, given the other facts quoted are disputed:

1. Pakistan Army Air Defence shot down an IAF MiG-27ML
2. using an ANZA-II SAM.
3. The IAF fighter (Serial No. 1135),

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Lalmohan » 23 Nov 2010 20:03

the Mig27 had an engine flameout due to ingesting gun gasses, unable to relight, nachiketa bailed out
ahuja's mig 21 circled the area slowly to find nachiketa and was hit by a SAM, possibly an ANZA. the tail of the Mig21 with its Cxxx numbering was shown on TV surrounded by pak soldiers. i believe that the Mig27 crashed in Indian territory whilst the Mig 21 crashed on the pakistani side. nachiketa was captured and imprisoned, he appears to have been roughed up whilst in captivity. Ahuja was shot in the head in cold blood on the ground after landing. possibly an overzealous soldier shot him before an officer could arrive on the scene and secure him for interrogation... but we will never know

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Surya » 23 Nov 2010 20:20

Nachi was roughed up by a senior Puki Army officer - so the officers were mofos not just the ORs

The Puki air force did treat him well (probably knowing what would happen to them when the roles are reversed) but did not intervene

Unfortunately for the Puki air force Ahuja's batch mates have long memories.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Lalmohan » 23 Nov 2010 20:23

surya, one would hope that even the dumbest pa officer in the field is trained that a captured pilot is worth more alive than dead and needs to be whisked off to military intelligence asap for interrogation
during interrogation, pilots should expect to get roughed up or worse (Not that it is justified)
for high value pows (like pilots), staying alive remains a function of not talking. this is part of aircrew escape, evasion and survival training

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Rahul M » 23 Nov 2010 21:45

>> the Mig27 had an engine flameout due to ingesting gun gasses, unable to relight, nachiketa bailed out
ahuja's mig 21 circled the area slowly to find nachiketa and was hit by a SAM, possibly an ANZA.

none of the anzas hit anything (other than ground) during kargil. it was most probably a stinger.
in fact there were questions raised in TSP about the pi$$ poor performance of the anzas.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Aditya G » 24 Nov 2010 02:10

We have number of proofs regarding Stinger missiles:

- 2 manpads captured were stingers

- Newspaper article questioning Anzas as Rahul mentioned

- Air Cmde Tufail:

Lt Gen Mehmud assured us that air support was not envisaged and that his forces could take care of enemy aircraft, if they intervened. “I have Stingers on every peak,” he announced.


On other hand we dont have any concrete info that Anza missiles were used.

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Re: Remembering the 1971 war

Postby sanjeevpunj » 04 Dec 2010 17:01

Image
Hunter, used by IAF in 1971.

Image
INS VIKRANT

Image
Folland Gnat IE 1083 is on display at the PAF Museum Karachi. This aircraft was retained as a war trophy after the Indian pilot forcelanded at a Pakistani Airfield by mistake during the 1965 India Pakistan War.
Image
A GNAT IE1078 - The Gnats can take to the air within 75 seconds of receiving the order to scramble.Pilots scramble to their Gnat fighters at Pathankot during the war.

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Re: Remembering the 1971 war

Postby anupmisra » 04 Dec 2010 17:22

sanjeevpunj wrote:Image
Folland Gnat IE 1083 is on display at the PAF Museum Karachi. This aircraft was retained as a war trophy after the Indian pilot forcelanded at a Pakistani Airfield by mistake during the 1965 India Pakistan War.


That pilot's name was Sikand or something similar. What's the actual story behind that incident? I wonder what it take to hire someone to blow up that display in k'rachi? By the way, I too clearly remember those nightly drills of black outs and sirens while growing up as a pre-teen in Chanakya Puri (Satya Marg governments officers' flats) in New Delhi.

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Re: Remembering the 1971 war

Postby sanjeevpunj » 04 Dec 2010 17:28

anupmisra wrote:That pilot's name was Sikand or something similar. What's the actual story behind that incident? I wonder what it take to hire someone to blow up that display in k'rachi? By the way, I too clearly remember those nightly drills of black outs and sirens while growing up as a pre-teen in Chanakya Puri (Satya Marg governments officers' flats) in New Delhi.


Found another image of the same aircraft, as it lands in Pasrur,Pakistan.

Yes, it was Sqn Ldr Brij Pal Singh Sikand. Sikand was promptly apprehended by Pak Army troops and had to spend the next five months as POW. After his repatriation, the IAF somehow took a light view of the incident and, Sikand resumed his career; He eventually rose to the rank of an Air Marshal. His aircraft was flown to Sargodha by Sqn Ldr Saad Hatmi, who carried out several evaluation flights after the war. Hatmi, who had flown the Gnat extensively while on an exchange assignment with the RAF, did not find the IAF version any different. He also maintained that the Gnat was no ‘Sabre Slayer’ when it came to dog fighting. After its brief service with the new air arm, Gnat IE 1083 was consigned to the PAF Museum, where it continues to bemuse visitors with one of the bizarre episodes of the 1965 War. Below is an actual war photo of it, showing the landed and parked GNAT.

Image
Last edited by sanjeevpunj on 04 Dec 2010 19:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Remembering the 1971 war

Postby sanjeevpunj » 04 Dec 2010 17:35

I found this page, they seem to be gloating, look at the war trophy board!
http://www.historyofpia.com/forums/view ... w=previous
Last edited by sanjeevpunj on 04 Dec 2010 19:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 27 Dec 2010 04:51


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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 31 Dec 2010 06:00

Kaiser Tufail's latest

http://kaiser-aeronaut.blogspot.com/201 ... 1-war.html
Air Defence in Southern Sector - 1971 War

There are a couple of nice suprises in there if you know where/what to look for..

not all aircombats / events are covered. but considering some of the info in there has nevr seen the light of the day for nearly 40 years, I will take what I will get.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby shiv » 31 Dec 2010 07:42

Jagan wrote:There are a couple of nice suprises in there if you know where/what to look for..


Hmm yes Jagan. I see what you mean. Thanks for posting.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 21 Jan 2011 20:18

Air Commodore Manbir Singh has written an article about his first sortie over Dacca Airfield on Dec 4, 1971. The article "Wish I had a gun" can be seen at

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Histo ... Singh.html

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby ramana » 21 Jan 2011 23:58

Jordan always used to deny they sent their aircraft to TSP in 1965 and 1971. Looks like they lost a couple!

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Lalmohan » 22 Jan 2011 16:11

ramana wrote:Jordan always used to deny they sent their aircraft to TSP in 1965 and 1971. Looks like they lost a couple!


it was proven at the time i think. pushpinder chopra's book also mentions the jordanian F104's as being shot down

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby shiv » 20 Apr 2011 18:50

Here is an absolute corker of a story i received on email from Air Marshal Rajkumar (retd). It came with the message:
This fantastic story needs to be put out on Bharat Rakshak. I do not know who the author is but I have a suspicion !


The file is a pdf that I will send separately to Jagan to put up on BR.

 
KEMPY’s NOSE 
(An Incredible Story Of Indiscipline : Eastern Air Force 1976. A Tale Of What Not To Do) 
 
The  dark,  ominous,  thunder  heads  had  been  rising  from  the  depths  of  Subansary  valley  all 
morning.  The  orographic  winds  pushed  them  up  the  slopes  and  the  impetus  helped  it  to  climb 
higher  and  higher  till  the  cataclysmic  thermodynamics  of  thunder  clouds  unleashed  enough 
energy to help them climb unrestricted to unimaginable height, hell bent on destruction around 
‘Mechuka’. I was in the middle of it.  
 
After waiting for several hours, I had got airborne from Dinjan in a MI4, on a bad weather day, to 
take  the  Army  Cdr  on  a  recee  of  the  Chinese  border.    The  GOC  had  other  preoccupations  and 
hence I got airborne close to 1100 hrs, something which we had been told not to do, due to bad 
weather and turbulence inside the hills after 1200 hrs. The Eastern Air Force, those days, was a 
different sort of IAF, much like the CIA operations in Lagos, a decade earlier, except that we did 
neither gun running nor dope peddling like the CIA, we were very socially useful and productive 
fellows.  Most of the guys in Chabua were either the ones who had failed the promotion exams, 
or were the guys on punishment posting. The guys that the IAF did not want to have around in 
any self respecting squadron. Chabua was therefore the best self respecting places to be.  SOPs 
were made just for the pleasure of breaking the rule. Anyway, to continue my story......, that day 
we went from place to place on the whim of the Army Cdr, who seemed to be enjoying himself at 
my expense. He kept dilly dallying at each whistle stop and as the day went by, we got hemmed in 
by the line squall while we were deep inside the hills.  
 
Flying in bad weather was nothing new to me, in those years I was compulsively drawn to it, it 
was exhilarating, the most adventurous thing that I could do at the age of 26. As usual, I dumped 
collective, descended to the deck, with the MI4’s wheels touching the Subansary river, more like 
driving a ‘Jonga’ than flying an airplane. I zig zagged along the river, acutely aware of a theorem 
propounded  by  my  earlier  Stn  Cdr  (Vir  Narain).  I  whistled  the  morbid  tune,  taught  to  me  by  a 
navigator friend, it was called ‘point of no return’.  The MI4 was one hell of a helicopter to fly. In 
due course, we braved the weather and got out of the hills, to my recollection, around 1600 hrs 
....... about 45 minutes before sunset.  
That is when I heard James Palapura on the radio.   
 
James  was  overhead  Tezpur  in  a  Mig  21  acting  like  an  airborne  FAC  coordinating  search  and 
rescue  over  Dulanmukh  range.  I  heard  arguments,  between  a  Caribou,  Chetak  and  James.  The 
sensible  guys  in  the  Caribou  and  Chetak  were  calling  off  the  search  and  going  home  due  to 
impending bad weather and darkness. James was trying to order them back. I had no business to 
go  anywhere  other  than  directly  east,  back  to  Chabua,  and  get  the  Army  Cdr  off  my  back.  Yet, 
curiosity overwhelmed me. 
 
“James Sir”, I called on the radio. “Who punched out ?”, I asked. 
“Kempy”, he said promptly,  and gave me a quick rundown.  
It seemed Kempy (then Flt Lt Deviah, a course mate) had punched out from a Gnat earlier that 
morning over Dulanmukh after he got hit by ricochet and the engine flamed out. None saw him 
punch out, none noted where the aircraft went down. The place as you guys know is thick jungles, 
with crazy wild animals. 

Just then my radio quit. That was not unusual. It was unusual if the radio ever worked in a MI4. 
We  were  quite  used  to  flying  the  MI4  without  radio,  without  navigational  aids  of  any  kind, 
without anything known or popular in aeronautics, all except a wing and a prayer.  
 
I  went  into  a  tizzy,  “hicum  foocum”,  sudden  rush  of  shit  to  the  brain.  I  was  beset  by  a  moral 
dilemma. Do I pretend not to have heard about Kempy ? Do I leave him there in the jungle and go 
home ? Do I rationalise that I had no business to get involved ? Do I make excuses that I had the 
Army Cdr on board ?  Do I make an excuse that it was going to be sun set, that the weather was 
bad, that I was about 40 miles north and headed in the wrong direction ?  
‘God, I didn’t even know if Kempy was dead or alive...... I said in monologue.   
‘Oh God, my CO will make mice meat out of me’, I said to myself in self defence.  
No .....in retrospect, I did not bring God in between and I did not consult with him either.  I went 
mind  dead  for  about  four  minutes  while  I  contemplated  the  odds.  In  the  fifth  minute,  I  turned 
around  and  went  back  to  a  clearing  near  Passighat  which  I  had  over  flown  about  ten  minutes 
earlier. I went and landed on a volley ball court next to some tents and without switching off, I 
ordered the Army Cdr out. He was dumbfounded, initially loss of words. But when it came, he let 
it fly at me, alternating between request, order, court marshal, pleading and jostling. Actually he 
was a very fine man, a person I held in great awe. So I reasoned with him.  
“Course mate down, Sir”, I said in clipped military parlance.  
“He needs me”, I told him with finality.  
“You are the Tiger, the army is here, and they will take care of you”, I think I told him.  “Kempy is 
down there, I got to go before the Tigers get to him”. 
I think the Army Cdr made a request to take him along. I think I did not want to take him along 
lest I endanger his life.  It is possible that I left him behind out of spite, for making me wait at all 
the places where we went and making me go through bad weather. I don’t remember. It is quite 
possible. I was very young and impetuous.  
 
Any  way  I  then  headed  full  throttle  for  Dulanmukh  range.  It  was  almost  sun  set  by  the  time  I 
reached there. I had to ask someone the general direction in which Kempy went down. I went and 
landed in front of the RSO’s hut and a WO ran out. He quickly pointed out the general direction 
and I was off the ground in a jiffy.  
 
The  jungles  reek  a  musty  smell  as  the  sun  begins  to  set.  I  noticed  it  because  I  was  at  tree  top 
height flying with both side doors wide open. There was total green cover, thick foliage. I looked 
for  a  fire,  broken  branches,  silvery  flash  of  the  Gnat’s  fuselage  or  wings,  a  parachute,  smoke, 
anything  to  indicate  a  crash  site.  There  was  nothing.  I  did  not  know  where  to  go  looking.  I  did 
mental DR, 1/60 rule, calisthenics to try and figure out where Kempy may have crashed. Over the 
whirring sound of the rotor, I had caught only snatches of what the WO had told me at the range. 
He had said something about cross wind. Yes, he had said that Kempy had ejected on the cross 
wind.  That  meant  close  by.  James  in  his  zealous  enthusiasm  had  misdirected  the  search  and 
others had gone looking for Kempy far and wide and had missed him. 
I  flew  over  a  large  patch  of  open  grassy  space.  I  saw  a  large  herd  of  frightened  wild  elephants 
scattering in all directions with their tails and trunks held high.   
“Kempy, where are you ?”, I shrieked over the noise of the wind and the MI4.  
Suddenly I heard him. I swear I heard him.  It seemed the MI4 knew where to go to find Kempy. I 
swear I never flew it. It was the hand of God that held the cyclic.  

 
I overflew a hut in another patch of grass, and I thought I saw about 50 people milling about. The 
MI4 turned around on it’s own and this time I could see clearly that there was some commotion 
on  the  ground.  I  closed  the  throttle,  yanked  the  speed  down  and  set  down  the  helicopter  in  a 
small clearing with very tall trees all around. When I switched off, the helicopter started juddering 
and after the rotors stopped, I realised that I had hit a tree while landing. About 7 inches of all the 
tail rotor blades had been cleanly shorn off. I also discovered to my horror that the Russians had 
made the tail rotor with ply wood.  But at that time I was not too worried about the tail rotor. I 
ran forward to find Kempy. 
 
Kempy was lying on a charpoy about 300 mtrs from where I had landed, where the villagers had 
brought him out from the jungle. He appeared to be semi conscious, groaning with pain. He still 
had  his  helmet  on,  though  the  mask  was  dangling  around  his  chest.  His  nose  was  completely 
smashed and his faced covered with blood. His nostrils were choked partially with dried mucus 
and blood, still oozing plasma. He was labouring for breath through his mouth, spasms raking his 
chest. I think he had been like that all day, while the search was on overhead, the villagers were 
frightened to touch him.   
The sun by then had set or was about to set.  
I quickly got Kempy’s helmet off, poured water on his face, cleaned his nose and mouth and made 
him drink some water. He seemed partially awake but he had no situational awareness or what 
happened to him. It also looked as if he had suffered a compression fracture of his spine.  
I knocked out the charpoy legs, loaded Kempy still on the charpoy into the MI4 and we went back 
to Chabua, unmindful of the missing portion of the tail rotor, the MI4 juddering and shaking all 
the way.  45 minutes later, when we landed, there was a big crowd on the tarmac, including the 
Station Commander and my CO, late Jayaraman.  The docs took charge of Kempy and I think he 
was flown to Calcutta, never saw him afterwards, for a long time. 
 
The CO took me by the elbow and marched me to his jeep. Never said a word. He went straight to 
the  bar,  where  Durga  the  ever  smiling  barman  poured  us  both  a  large  Rum  with  water,  the 
favourite  drink  in  Chabua.  There  were  many  others  too  in  the  bar.  Jayaraman,  took  a  sip  and  I 
think he could not control himself any more.  
“I don’t know what to do with you”, he said. 
“First you broke the 12 O’Clock rule”, he waved the glass in my face. My untouched glass still on 
the bar counter. True to Rimcolian tradition, I always took bull shit standing at attention. In RIMC, 
it was believed that attention was the only safe position to ward off predation.  
“I  can  understand  that  you  came  out  of  the  hills  at  2  O’clock,  I  can  forgive  you  if  it  went  to  3 
O’Clock. But I cannot suffer in silence if you decided to clear the hills at sun set”. His voice was 
quivering with emotion. There was pin drop silence in the bar. All drinks lay untouched on the bar 
counter.  He took another sip. 
“You got into bad weather”.  He paused. “No, not just bad weather, you f***ing had to go and 
penetrate  a  line  squall and  mapped  the  Sunasari  river  with  your  wheel  to  get  out”.    I  began  to 
wonder  where  he  had  heard  that  one.  Then  I  realised  that  the  army  may  still  be  searching  for 
their Army Cdr.  “I can understand if you left behind an army captain”, he said very softly. He took 
another sip of Rum and water.  
“I can understand if you left behind a Colonel. I can forgive you even if had left behind the GOC 2 
Div”.  He paused, seemingly at a loss of words.  “F***ing shit bag, you went and left the Army Cdr 
on a f***ing BSF picket and he is sitting on a charpoy right now”. Jaya banged his glass on the bar 
counter, and lit a cigarette.  Through a smoke ring, he kept staring at me.   

 
“You went and chopped up your tail rotor, and had the audacity to fly it right back to Chabua”,  
he said softly. I thought I could make out a note of admiration in his voice.  
“Sir”, I said pleasantly. “I shall go and pick up the Army Cdr first thing tomorrow morning”.  
Jaya was my best friend, my guru, my only mentor, my only benefactor in all my years in uniform. 
“You will do nothing of the sort”, he roared like a lion. “I shall pick up the Army Cdr myself”, he 
said.  “You”.....he  paused  for  effect.  “You  are  f***ing  going  on  permanent  detachment  to 
Chakabama”. He said with finality. Chakabama, a helipad in the middle of nowhere in Nagaland 
was the loneliest place those days, detachment in Chakabama was akin to solitary confinement. 
 
“But for now, Barman.....” he commanded, looking for Durga. “The drink will be on the house, put 
it all on Kartoos, he will pay for the drinks tonight”. 
He then raised his glass, like a formal dining in night, “For now, let us drink to Kempy’s nose”. 
“To Kempy’s nose”, we replied in unison, drowning the glass of large Rum and water in one single  
bottoms up.  That night, we did bottoms up again and again, each time toasting to Kempy’s nose. 
My bar book was closed that night, I had exceeded Rs 75, the bar book limit.  
Considering that Rum cost Rs 3.50 a bottle, and water cost nothing, we drank around 22 bottles 
of Rum that night, all towards Kempy’s nose. Assuming that there were around 28 of us that night 
at  the  bar,  including  the  Gnat  guys  on  detachment  at  Chabua,  that  was  around  10  large  pegs 
each, all for good cause, Kempy’s nose. May be we all had one peg each and quite possible that 
Jagga Barar drank the extra 28 pegs. I think it was one of those nights when Jagga did not count 
the pegs using match sticks, lined up on the bar counter, one stick per peg.  I think he lost count, 
like Counta Barar, who never counted. 
 
Next morning I was packed off to Chakabama in the dicky of a MI4, and I am told I kept saying “To 
Kempy’s Nose” all the way from Chabua to Chakabama,  rather silly of me. I stayed there for three 
whole months before Jaya relented and brought me back.   
 
Kempy  now  has  a  wonderful  nose.  Makes  him  very  handsome  and  dignified.  Every  bit  like  his 
illustrious martial predecessors from Koorg.  I cannot take the credit, it was the Docs at Calcutta 
who made Kempy’s nose look Koorgi,  handsome and accomplished. Me, I take the credit only for 
the incredible act of closing my bar book in one night, cheering for Kempy’s nose   :)
 
Cyclic.  
       


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