Friday, December 12, 2008

State Central Library, Afzal Gunj, Hyderabad

This photograph is from the TIME-LIFE archives on Google. I had to rack my brains to id the building - because this style of architecture is usually found in the Osmania University - and I was not able to place this. Then I realised that it was a Library - it was the State Central Library in Afzal Gunj (or Afzalgunj), near the Osmania General Hospital.

I was a regular to the library in the 90s, first visiting it in 1990 and visited it as recently as 2004 or 2005. Its a pretty big library -and had a great collection of military books related to india. Their storage room has tons of old rare books - including Gazettes of India dating from the 19th Century.

The building is one of the 137 such designated as "Heritage Buildings" by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

I tried locating a contemporary photograph of this building but was not able to locate one - Strange in the age of Digital Photography and Internet Photo uploads.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bravery of a different kind

'Armed police would not fire back. – I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera' - Asia, World - The Independent

You have to appreciate the photographer Stephen D'Souza for keeping his cool and taking those pictures. I am certainly glad to see that he has got the attention finally.

There is however one point that needs to be clarified - despite his experience with some of those cops who didnt fire back, there were a few who bravely faced the terrorists at CST. There is some CCTV footage showing two RPF constables sharing one Lee Enfield .303 rifle between the two of them - taking potshots at the two gunmen. One of the constables even tries to throw a chair to divert / distract them. Then there is another RPF constable who was shot in the stomach after firing three rounds. fortunately he survived his wounds. These few good men do deserve the spot light.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Plant Protection to Army Aviation

Department of Plant Protection - Now Pakistan Army Aviation - a rare colour photograph of a DHC-2 Beaver impressed into service by the Pakistani Army Aviation Wing. Beavers were used extensively for recce and utility duties during the 1971 Operations

One of these aircraft probably had a near encounter with an IAF MiG-21 in the air. I say probably because this happened in the night and one cant be sure. The Beaver fortunately (for its occupants) managed to make it to safety.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GoaBooks2: Remembering the Fall of Portuguese India in 1961

GoaBooks2: Remembering the Fall of Portuguese India in 1961

A review by Teotonio R. de Souza of a book by a Portugese Veteran. Offers very interesting insights into the Operations. Seems to be sympathetic to the Indian viewpoint and is pretty damning about the portugese treatment of veterans who returned from Indian captivity .

Monday, September 01, 2008

18 out of 20 at 25 Yards

I fired a handgun for the first time ever (in my life) and it turns out that I was pretty okay with my firing skills. Shot about 75 rounds - 50 on a Berretta M92 and 25 on a Springfield M1911 . It was an "awesome" experience. The 1911 had more gun flash, bang and recoil and was slightly more difficult to handle, but the extra weight helps steady aim I would think.

The Results on the left the first 20 shots from the 1911 at 25 Yards. With the exception of two rounds that I was trying to place on the head of the target, all others went through the sillhoutte. one bulls eye and one near bulls eye. As per the Scoring chart

X = 1 (5 Pts)
10 = 1 (5 Pts)
9= 2 (5 Pts)
8 = 5 (5 Pts)
7 = 7 (4 Pts)
Other = 2 (3 Pts)
Missed Silhoutte = 2 (0 Pts) (1 was a 'nick')

Total Score as per chart 75 points out of a possible 100. Not bad for a first time shooter.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Astras and Gulfstreams of Aviation Research Center

IAI 1125 Astra- L3467
Gulfstream Aerospace G-1159A Gulfstream III - K2961
Click here for bigger photo!Gulfstream VT-ENR

Monday, July 21, 2008

HE-773 National Aviation Museum, Rockville, Canada

Ex-Indian Air Force Consolidated B-24J Liberator HE-773 at the National Aviation Museum, Rockville, Canada.

The aircraft is in a climate controlled storage hangar and it is verrrry difficult to fit it in one photo without a wide angle lens - instead - this is a photo stitch from three different images.
The aircraft is surrounded by numerous other aircraft in storage and it is not even possible to get a walk around. However on a special request, the volunteer guide will let you go around.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An Indian Army Alouette in Gilgit, Pakistan - 3

Following up on my earlier posts one and two, a third picture has recently been uploaded on flickr. This one has a better shot of the plaque but it is not clear enough to read.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Garden Airport Airshow


While going through a free newspaper about local news - i picked up at the groceries store, I was surprised to find an ad about an "Air Show!" . What?? an airshow close to home?? turns out that the New Garden Airport at Toughkenemon, PA has an annual airshow. a small affair, but a regular one.

Having an airshow close to home - I just had to haul my ass off to watch it - and i did. the airport was a cute place - single runway - lot of gen av aircraft. the arrangement was such that you could literally sit about 50 - 100 feet away from the runway threshold and take pictures. The aircraft actually come into land flying just above the parking lot. So I had some wonderful shots. Some of the best i have taken (Beating even the WW2 reading ones)

More of the photos at this link

Thursday, June 12, 2008

World War II Weekend at Reading, PA

P40 Tomahawk
Originally uploaded by Super Zag
Attended the World War II Weekend last Saturday at Reading airport in Pennsylvania. An incredibly hot day that resulted in several people passing out due to the heat.

A number of warbirds were there - though the Hurricane and Yak were missing from last year. The Weather was glorious for flying and so was the lighting and angles. Took 450+ photos - some of the best aircraft ones are uploaded here

Friday, April 11, 2008

Recommended Books added

I have added some books that I recommend to the widget on the right. The goal is to identify one book per conflict which is the 'master reference' document. Keep checking the updates!

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Boeing 707 in the Indian Air Force Colors

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Seen above in the Google Maps view is the ARC tarmac area at the New Delhi International Airport in Palam. The aircraft to the right in the above frame is a Boeing 707 maintained by the Aviation Research Center. Around 2002, there was only one Boeing 707 in the ARC area - which looked like it was gathering dust and like it hadnt taken to the air in years. However in recent years, a Second 707 has arrived. suggesting that it has flown in from elsewhere. And more importantly as the photograph on the right shows, the 707 sports IAF markings rather than the civilian ones of the earlier one. The Boeing 707 carries the IAF roundel on the top side of the aft fuselage and the fin flash - certainly a rare illustration of this type in IAF colors.

According to my notes, the IAF received two Boeing 707s ex-Air India. The aircraft VT-DVB and VT-DXT were numbered K2900 and K2989 respectively - and it is belived that the two B707s at Palam are these two types. I am not aware of any specific photos of this type in IAF colors if you have seen something somewhere, do let me know.
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Friday, February 29, 2008

An Indian Army Alouette in Gilgit, Pakistan - Redux

Following up on my earlier post , found this interesting photo by Nadine on Picasaweb - showing another view of the same helicopter - from a slightly higher viewpoint. There apparently is a plaque at the base of the platform - wish someone took a shot of it.
Apparently the place is called "Helicopter Chowk" - and is located right along the main road that runs through Gilgit Town. Heres the Wikimapia Link - See the same place in Google Maps in the iframe below.

Its interesting to see the amount of reconstruction that this aircraft underwent. However I can just about see the control columns inside the cabin. Guess no one is interested in them as souvenirs!

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Go Army"..

"Go Army"..
Originally uploaded by Mark D. Martin India
I have to get one of these trucks for my house at hyderabad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An upcoming Warbird?

Originally uploaded by fostermadscientist
A sea harrier being transported by road from NAS Garuda (cochin) up north along the highway. I would suspect that it is delegated to warbird duties ?

The NAM Sea Harrier gets its "legs"

Surprise to find it here
Originally uploaded by karanmerchant
The Sea Harrier was formerly on stilts and trestles - looks like they fixed up some wheels for it. Good going!

Thursday, February 21, 2008 "Indian Air Force" Search Results

Thanks to the recommendation of one of the readers, a search on for "Indian Air Force" brings up "The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965" as the No.1 Result. "Indian Air Force"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Piet Kruizinga: Geweld in Hyderabad- India.

Piet Kruizinga: Geweld in Hyderabad- India.

A nicely authored article on Hyderabad and the Police Action - as well as interesting notes in the end analysing the works of Omar Khalidi, Narendra Luther, V K Bawa etc who have written books on Hyderabad.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Six Hours of Internet Warbird Hunting

One of my favourite passtimes on the Internet is to search for previously unreported 'Warbirds' and disused Airframes in India. Usually these would be put up again on my website Warbirds of India . In the seven years of the Website, having tracked the census from a paltry 60-70 ac in the first year to nearly 400 today, i didnt have too many expectations when I decided to spend some time last Saturday to search for new aircraft.

But boy was I surprised!
The theme of the last week's search was "Aviation Technical Training Institutes" in India and the aircraft relics they have had. This was partially triggered by the nose section of the Air India Boeing 747 that I had found on Flickr by Ujwal

The search was based on the list of "Approved Institutes" from the DGCA Website. And soon interesting bits of information on these airframes started trickling in. While there were several reports of Cessnas, Beech aircraft , Pushpaks etc, I was floored over by what I found at the Southern College of Engineering at Challkudy. First off the bat was this Lycoming powered Hindustan HT-2 Trainer

Okay that was good. But the next image in the page really floored me!

A Tigermoth! - Amazing! They still have one! I was at a complete loss of words. This was probably the only Tigermoth I know in civilian hands today in India. Atleast it has not been picked up yet by any Western Collector. Hope it remains this way for now.

After the Tigermoth, the other finds were just the icing - There was an Auster like aircraft and another unmodified HT-2. It looks like Southern College hit the jackpot during one of the IAF's old aircraft auction!

After that the discovery of this fokker at SoA Neemrana was another neat find. But not as exciting as the ones above.
All in all it was an interesting half day's worth of detective work, done entirely on the Internet!