April 14, 2024
The first thing the visitor faces on entering the AFA is a long approach road

The first thing the visitor faces on entering the AFA is a long approach road to the heart of the Academy. The first vintage aircraft a visitor would face is at the end of the road. A Sukhoi-7 [B-784] faces the approach road displayed in a Triangular park, the other corners being occupied by the Mystere and the Ouragan.

Sukhoi-7 BMK [B-784] is the largest aircraft on display in the AFA. Shown at its display platform, It is the first aircraft one encounter on entry into the AFA. The aircraft had the patch near the leading edge painted brown, the serial number moved to the tail fin, and proper Name boards constructed.

The Sukhoi is certainly the largest aircraft in the AFA’s collection. It is in the same state as the Ouragan and the Mystere, being painted in silver dope for years on together. Painted on the side are the letters S-22 signifying its Indian designation ‘Type S-22’. The aircraft had four drop tanks fitted to it. Two of these were fitted to the underwing stations, and two to the underfuselage stations. The belly drop tanks have been removed now.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
THEN AND NOW: Seen on the right was the Sukhoi, three years back, with an all metal finish and the serial number painted aft of the wing. On the right is the Sukhoi as seen today, with the team that renovated the aircraft. Note the missing Belly drop tanks in the right picture.

The restoration team had stripped the old paint and given it a metal finish. touching up the roundel and the fin flash. The Serial number which was earlier painted on the fuselage was moved now to its correct position on the fin. Some Brown paint was applied to the distinctive patch at the wing leading edge. The radio aerial surfaces on the fin were painted grey-black to its correct shade.

Click to Enlarge THEN: The Sukhoi as photographed three years back. The lable ‘S-22’ was painted near the cockpit to signify the aircraft’s designation in the IAF, ‘Type S-22’
NOW: The Sukhoi today. The radio aerial surfaces on the fin was painted blackish grey. The Serial number can be clearly seen in its correct position and the older position of the Serial number has been masked out by paint, but can be still be made out in the picture. Click to Enlarge

The Sukhoi had weathered the years fairly OK, but it was noticed that the starboard wing had drooped down due to fatigue. No repairs had been done to rectify it, but the team was still working out a fix for this.

Attempts to fabricate a canopy cover for the aircraft did not work out as the Cockpit canopy was too curvy for the craftsmen to reproduce the cover correctly. The display platform and lighting as usual had been touched up properly with a display board constructed with the aircraft’s name painted in Blue and Gold paint.

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