October 7, 2022

A Gnat in a Public Park

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This Ajeet IE-1205 is mounted in the middle of a Water fountain!. Unfortunately we dont have any idea if its the real id or not, as the same serial is shared by a Gnat at Air HQ in Delhi. Pic Courtesy : Rahul Devnath

A few years ago, Kapil Chandni visited Nagpur, and as he was passing besides a Gandhi Baug in Nagpur in a truck, he chanced upon a Gnat on display in the park. The HAL Gnat [IE-1205] on display, was rather uniquely mounted on concrete pillars in the middle of a water fountain!.

Though its position in that environment is not very idea for the airframe in terms of corrosion, it is very very effective to keep it out of reach of vandalisers! The mystery of this aircraft is shared by another Gnat from Air HQ in Delhi. Both share the same serial number IE-1205. Will the real IE-1205 please stand up?

Click to Enlarge Ajeet IE-1205 perched precariously on three concrete pillars. The faded emblem of No.2 Squadron is clearly visible on the nose. Pic Courtesy : Rahul Devnath
This tailside view of Gnat IE-1205 shows the aircraft with a slight bank to the right. Pic Courtesy : Rahul Devnath Click to Enlarge

Though initially we believed this aircraft was a Gnat, Some better resolution photographs sent by Rahul Devnath has made us believe that this aircraft is actually a latter model Ajeet. Close ups of the underwing surface shows what could have been anchor points for inboard pylons.

The plaque in front of the aircraft identifies it as a “Gnat” in hindi language. The aircraft was apparently presented by then Air Marshal Madan Lal Sethi PVSM AVSM ADC, who was the AOC-in-C Maintenance Command at that time. But which time you may ask? This was probably around 1987 according to Rahul, as the hindi numerals on the plaque may disclose.

Click to Enlarge Close up of the stenciling near the cockpit reveals the cost of the aircraft as Rupees 30 Lakhs – exactly the same amount is painted on the Gnat at Diamond Park at Cheumbur in Mumbai. Pic Courtesy : Rahul Devnath
IE-1205 from the front reveals the tilt to the right of the aircraft. Also visible in this view are the anchor points for the inner hardpoints under the wing. The Plaque under the front nose wheels gives details of the handing over ceremony. Pic Courtesy : Rahul Devnath Click to Enlarge

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