September 29, 2022

The IAF's very first "manufactured" aircraft

Joint Warbird Discovery of the Year 2004

A photo by Rishi shows IAF Kanpur I [BR460] with the roundel and the official IAF serial painted under its starboard wing. Photo Courtesy : PEC Website

The other aircraft in the aero labs is a more historical airframe. The IAF Kanpur I. The Kanpur 1 had been indigenously designed and built by technicians of the IAF Maintainance Command, under the able guidance of AVM Harjinder Singh in 1958. Group Captain Kapil Bhargava has written much about this aircraft in his article “The IAF as an Aircraft Manufacturer“. At the time of its manufacture, even Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) did not have a light aircraft design in its name!.

Click to Enlarge IAF Kanpur 1 BR460 in the Aero workshop of the PEC. Note the Spitfire control column, bucket seat and rudder pedals in the makeshift ‘simulator’. Photo Courtesy : PEC Website

It is still a mystery as to how the Kanpur I ended up with PEC Chandigarh. But knowing the strong bonds with AVM Harjinder Singh, who also allocated the Spitfire XVIII to them, it is easy to assume that he probably donated the Kanpur I to PEC Chandigarh at about the same period.

Rishi Tandon, who examined the aircraft in 2004 writes that the aircraft has some minor damage to the fuselage. The rudder pedals are not there in the aircraft. As seen in the photograph, the propeller is also removed and has been stored seperately.

As mentioned earlier, another aircraft with PEC is an Mi-8 helicopter Z-1381 which was given to them in January 2004.

Update on the Warbird Discovery of the Year 2004:

Considering the historical value of this airframe and the fact that this airframe is the only the first aircraft to be ‘built’ by the IAF, Warbirds of India has decided that this aircraft deserves the accolade “Warbird Discovery of 2004” along with the IAF Kanpur II. The credit for this aircraft goes to Rishi Tandon.

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