April 23, 2024
A HAL HT-2 [IX509] at the Bal Vihar Center in Quilon. Thanks to Sandeep Unnithan for providing photographs of this aircraft.

One of the relatively minor cities of Kerala where there is no significant Military presence is the small city of Quilon, Or Kovalam to go by its Indian name. Quilon is about 70 km N of the Kerala capital of Trivandrum.

The lack of military presence of any kind is all the more reason for us to be surprised when photographs of a HAL HT-2 turned up!

HAL HT-2 [IX-509] seen at the Bal Vihar (Children’s Center) about 2 km from Quilon city. Photo Courtesy : V Ajay Kumar via Sandeep Unnithan

Tucked away in one corner of the Bal Vihar (Childrens Recreation Center), which is located on the Quilon – Chengkota road, about 2 km from the city was IX-509. We have no idea as to how this HT-2 turned up – but the most likely reason has to be the generosity of the Indian Air Force in the Sixties/Seventies/Eighties.

Click to Enlarge The yellow identification band the serial still stand out among the faded paint remains on the aircraft. Photo Courtesy : V Ajay Kumar via Sandeep Unnithan

The aircraft was first reported by Mr Ajay Kumar, who was an acquaintance of Sandeep Unnithan, a frequent contributor to this site. On Sandeep’s insistence, Mr. Kumar took photographs of the aircraft and sent them to Sandeep who forwarded them to us.

As expected with a majority of the gifts, this HT-2 is in pretty bad condition, as the accompanying photographs would testify. The most significant features being the poor paint status of the fuselage and the open Canopies over the cockpit which seem to have been broken into.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
Two views of IX-509 give testimony to its poor condition. The Open Cockpit and missing canopy panels contributing nothing good for the aircraft condition . Photo Courtesy : V Ajay Kumar via Sandeep Unnithan

Children of the recreation center seem to be leisurely lounging on the aircraft, without realising the nature of the story here. As with most students in schools around the country where derelict aircraft are displayed, it is quite likely that even the folks here believe that this is an aircraft that crashed in their backyard!

There is no propeller blades on the spinner – Were these gone after the aircraft was delivered? We have no idea.

Click to Enlarge This view of the HT-2 shows the propeller blades missing from the spinner. For the young boys, the aircraft is probably the closest ‘aviation experience’ they will get while growing up in this small town. Photo Courtesy : V Ajay Kumar via Sandeep Unnithan

The aircraft is likely to remain at the Bal Kendra for some time. It will be ages before the aircraft preservation movement will make its presence felt here.

Aircraft Type Serial No Remarks
HAL HT-2 IX-509 Bal Kendra, Quilon

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