A new HPT-32 Deepak (X3147) makes an appearance at Sainik School Kazhakootam in Kerala. But can someone close that canopy?
Outside of Trivandrum, is the small town of Kazhakootam. There is a Sainik School at Kazhakootam which has a Harvard and a HF-24 Marut preserved. This was confirmed to us a long time back by Anup Ramachandran by Email.
The Sainik School has an Alumni website at http://www.sskzm.org which recently updated several photographs of the aircraft at the School as well as some aerial shots of the location.
|An aerial view of Sainik School Kazhakootam shows the HF-24 Marut in is earlier light blue paint scheme in the top left quadrant. The Harvard is to the right of it near the grey roofed auditorium. Photo Courtesy : www.sskzm.org
Much to our surprise, the Marut as well as the Harvard seem to be looked after well, in view of the recent paint job they have recieved. It is the paint scheme that has been applied that is the cause for much derision. Aparently the school had sought it fit to paint the aircraft in Red and White paint to resemble the Surya Kiran Aerobatic team. Perhaps no one suggested a more natural Aluminium paint finish on these aircraft.
|A Striking red and white scheme resembling the Suryakirans has been painted on this HF-24 Marut Mk1 on display at Sainik School Kazhakootamt. Photo Courtesy : www.sskzm.org
The aircraft are resting on pedestals and from old aerial photos, it looks like that the Marut was painted light sky blue and the Harvard was in a more accurate yellow paint scheme.
The Harvard on display near the Auditorium has also recieved the same Red and white paint scheme. Its canopy perspex and windshield have also been painted over in Red and White. The only good thing about the whole painting effort is that the aircraft are being looked after and there would be little corrosion due to the paint.
|The hapless Harvard seemed to have been attacked by the same entusiastic painter – resulting in the scheme on this WW2 era warbird. The Canopy perspex has also been painted over. Photo Courtesy : www.sskzm.org
Also sadly, no traces of the aircraft’s serial numbers seem to have survived. Thus it is very difficult to ascertain when and where exactly these aircraft came from and what their previous histories were. However thanks to an album on Picasa – SSKZM, we have been able to establish the identity of the HF-24 as D1227.
Naturally we would be interested in locating any old period photographs of either of these aircraft in a paint scheme other than the latest one. Any photo that shows a serial number of the Harvard would help us find out the history of the aircraft before its duty as a gate guard at this school.
In 2013, a HAL built HPT-32 Deepak trainer was installed on the premises. This was one of the first Deepak gate guards to make an appearance after the grounding of this aircraft in 2009.
|A HPT-32 Deepak (X3147) was erected in the school in the year 2013. But hey, can someone close the Canopy? . (Photo Courtesy: SSK KZM Google+ Page)
|HAL HF-24 Marut
|HAL HPT-32 Deepak
Another photo of the Marut in its current silver scheme.