September 27, 2022

The Warbird Discovery of the Year in 2002

The Messerchmitt Bf-109 which was lying in the grounds of PDA Engineering College for nearly three decades. The aircraft was moved away in August 2002. Pic Courtesy : Laxman A A

Gulbarga is a small town in the district of the same name in northern Karnataka. It is closer to Hyderabad, about 220 km by road, it is connected by rail and also boasts a small airstrip. It was one of the main bastions of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s kingdom and one of the first to fall to the advancing Indian troops in the police action of 1948.

Neither the Indian troops, nor the strafing Tempests had any clue that an aircraft was on display in Gulbarga Park for some years before. It was a rare Messerchmitt 109. Its story and discovery is narrated in detail in this page.

Click to Enlarge The Messerchmitt Bf-109 was exchanged for this HAL Pushpak by the HKE Trust that runs the college. The Pushpak was part of a deal along with a Morris Minor car, a vintage Motorcycle and a Vintage Bicycle. Pic Courtesy : Gulbarga Police
The Pushpak and the dismantled wings as seen in the College garage. Pic Courtesy : Gulbarga Police Click to Enlarge

Thanks to the now controversial discovery of the Messerchmitt Bf-109, Gulbarga finds itself on the Warbird Map of India. As narrated earlier, the Bf-109 was discovered derelict in the grounds of a the Poojya Doddappa Appa College of Engineering. This aircraft was ‘exchanged’ by the trustees of the college with relics of lesser value in the begining of this year. The College got a HAL Pushpak in place of the Messerchmitt. The Pushpak is now displayed in a dissembled state in the college.

It is estimated that the cost of the Pushpak, the car and other trinkets are worth about $2000 in all. Last known, a derelict Bf-109 would have gone for a minimum of $300,000 in the warbird market. I guess the college made the deal of their life, especially after they rejected the offer of a Iskra training jet by the Indian Air Force for the same aircraft.

The aircraft features the false registration VT-HKE , symbolising the current owners, the Hyderabad Karnataka Education Society. The true identity of this aircraft is not known. Meanwhile the Messerchmitt has been frisked away to another place in a hurry. No trace behind at the place to show that once there was a rare gem of an aircraft for all to see.

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