Talk about Barn finds!
Twenty one years ago, in 2002, this report was published on the site – Hidden Gems at Faridkot. The poor-quality video and photographs identified three derelict aircraft at Faridkot. A Fairchild F24, a Percival Proctor and a Stinson Sentinel. The aircraft was lying locked up in a hangar owned by the Maharaja of Faridkot Trust.
In 2008, another article was published by Tribune India by S P Sharma . Aircraft Once, Junk Now . The photographs were still poor quality resolution but it proved that the derelicts remained there six years later. Read more about the Faridkot Royals in this piece. Another article published in Tribune identifies four aircraft. S P Sharma also tweeted this in 2019
Fast forward to 7th March 2023, Brig Tony Sarao, posted the following photographs and “Sitrep” on the Indian Aviation Group on Facebook.
The aircraft are still there, in the same condition, left untouched – under lock and key. The Hangar where they are stored is owned by the Faridkot Royal Family trust. Tony was able to take photographs from the gap in the hangar .
Sometime ago I had read a vague newspaper report (while surfing the net) about the ‘lost and forgotten’ aircrafts of the Maharaja of Faridkot. Maharaja Harinder Singh Brar had imported a couple of these machines in the 30’s/40’s but now the ‘junk’ was lying in a hangar on the outskirts of Faridkot.
So on my visit to Faridkot last week, this became a ‘must see’.
With the help of my gunner friends posted at Faridkot, we located a huge hangar and remnants of a grass covered runway. Abandoned and (locked).
“The sliding doors of the hangar spread over an area of 6 kanals are completely jammed as these have not been opened for the past several years. The airfield was constructed over an area of 176.4 acres in 1939. However, it was abandoned sometime in 1960s and the fair-weather runway is now covered with wild shrubs and elephant grass . According to records of civil aviation, the last flying aircraft, bearing serial_number 6531, was brought to India in April, 1948, and the last certificate of airworthiness was issued on November 27, 1991. It was deregistered from the Indian civil aircraft register on December 1, 2005.
Skeletons of three aircraft lie in the hangar of the ‘jahaz ground’. Surfing the net, I concluded that the Maharaja owned atleast three aircraft – A Percival Proctor, a Stinson L-5 Sentinel and a Fairchild F24 W!!
Though the ‘caretaker’ did not have the keys to the hangar, he showed me a gap in the sliding doors from where I managed to take pics of the three derelicts. I then researched the net and found the exact ‘look alikes’ of the three machines when they were alive and flying.
The Fairchild F24 , is also known as the Fairchild Argus in RAF service, and this example could be one of the many that were sold off as surplus at the end of WW2 from the RAF stocks, making it a true WW2 veteran if the assumption pans out. The same goes for the Sentinel as well. But in all the three cases, we do not know the identity
The reference to “last flying aircraft” and “No 6531” point to a Miles Gemini M65 – VT-CTQ that was owned by the Maharaja Khewalji Trust – however the Miles doesn’t appear to be present in the hangar.
Well there you have it. These three aircraft of unknown identity are still survivors and though at some point in time, we thought they were scrapped, they were always there – untouched for over twenty years since we first knew them – and probably 50-70 years since they flew last?