December 4, 2023
Gp Capt Ved Vadera of the IAF visits E1076 at March Field Museum in California, USA.

Years ago, we have written about the IAF Gnats that have found their way overseas and are on display worldwide. One example was Gnat E1076 on display at the March Field Museum in California.


The March Field Museum in Riverside, CA in the USA holds one of the five Folland/HAL built Gnat aircraft that were sold by the IAF to Dave Talichet in the 80s.  Initially displayed in IAF plain aluminium finish, HAL Gnat E-1076 was repainted in the Red Arrows paint scheme, while carrying the IAF Serial number on its fuselage. It languished at the museum for years in that inaccurate  scheme. In 2017, the Museum and its volunteers decided that the appropriate way to display this Gnat was in the colours that it served. A group of restorers stripped the red paint off it, and repainted it an more representative IAF Scheme.

In 2018, aviation historian Anchit Gupta wrote the story of a Gnat belly landing undertaken about fifty years ago on 25th April 1972. Flying Officer V P Vadera of the IAF , landed a Gnat wheels up at Pathankot . The aircraft was identified as E1076. It was easy to link the story to the Gnat E1076 that has been preserved at the March Field Museum. When the story was published on the Bharat Rakshak Website, the Museum was notified about the same via their Facebook page.

Subsequently, the Museum displayed the pilot’s photo along with the story of his belly landing on a placard next to the aircraft.

Four years later, , 12th August 2022, The March Field Museum’s facebook page posted this story..

Gp Capt Ved Vadra visiting the March Field Museum to visit ‘his’ Gnat ..

Anchit Gupta, whose research and writing had made this possible noted on twitter:

So for those who wonder why we religiously track retired aircraft, their locations, and identities, this story offers a glimpse of what the results are. The aircraft gain a personality, a story, and pilots and families discover a lost connection, and future generations get to know about the machines and the men/ women that achieved some fantastic feats in them!

1 thought on “An IAF pilot is reunited with the Gnat he belly landed in! (in USA)

  1. Have had the pleasure of knowing GRP Capt Vadera for over two decades during my tenure with my previous airlines. It was heartening to see a fine gentleman and a great pilot reunite with his machine. You can see the excitement on his face.

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