October 7, 2022

 

Click to Enlarge An aerial view of the Begumpet Air Port from the late 40s. The Terminal in the background is the “Old Airport” building. The Hangars in use by the RAF and today the IAF are on the left. Photo Courtesy: Wg Cdr CHL Digby

Begumpet airport is located right in the heart of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Its history dates back to the early 30s when the Hyderabad Aero Club was formed and it became the airfield for Nizam of Hyderabad’s aircraft. The airport was further developed with the provision of a proper airport terminal building in 1937.

During the Second World War, the flying club was taken over by the RAF for its training purposes and No.1 Elementary Flying Training School was soon established. No.1 EFTS operated a number of DH82 Tigermoths impressed from civilian service and was functional for almost the entire duration of the war. In 1945 No.1 EFTS was wound up and Begumpet reverted back to complete civilian control again.

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The old airport terminal seen in a photograph from the late 40s (left) and as it stands today (right). The foundation for this building was layed by Princess Durrushevar in November 1936. Today, nearly seventy years later, the terminal building does duty as the CISF’s commandants office. Photo Courtesy: (Left) Mrs. P Anuradha Reddy

In Oct 1951, No.1 Air Force Academy moved to Begumpet from Ambala and flying training commenced under the Indian Air Force Management once again. In 1956, the AFA, now redesignated as Air Force College moved out of Begumpet, and the station was named “Air Force Station, Hyderabad”. In 1963, No.1 Transport Training Wing was moved to AFS Hyderabad and remained there till its amalgamation into the TTW Bangalore in 1968. Air Force Station Begumpet as we know it today, came into establishment in 1968, and remains so till this date.

Over the years, the airfield has seen Tigermoths operating in RAF and IAF colors, followed by Dakotas, Avros and even the odd Canberra operated by NRSA. The airfield and the Air Force Station retain much of a Historic feel when one takes a tour of the faciilties. One gets a feeling that the station has not changed much from the 30s when the British used to garrision their troops here. More than half of the buildings are of vintage build and are maintained well by the IAF personnel there.

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TS-11 Iskra W-1769 has been procured from Hakimpet – as the crest on the nose of the aircraft indicates. This is one of the two Iskras sent to Begumpet, but will be the only one on display on the station premises. The other one having been sent to the local KV School.

In early 2005, two TS-11 Iskra aircraft have been transported by road from the neighbouring Hakimpet AFS to Begumpet. The Iskras were from the surplus at Hakimpet after it was withdrawn from service in late 2004. Of the two Iskras, one (W-1769) has been retained for mounting at the main gate of the AFS. Another unknown Iskra is slated to be installed at the Kendriya Vidhyalaya School of Begumpet.

Click to Enlarge Another view of the Iskra W-1769 lying nearby the Begumpet AFS gate.
Seen here are the HS-748s of the Navigation and Signals School stand before the vintage Hangars of the Air Force Station Click to Enlarge

A derelict Hawker Siddely/HAL HS-748 was there in the Begumpet Airport environs on the Old Airport side. That aircraft was last seen around December 2002. But it has been removed after that. The aircraft was resting on stilts and metal supports when last seen.

Another HS-748, withdrawn from use but stored properly can also be seen when one enters the AP Aviation Academy. This HS-748 is covered with Canvas sheets and no propellers are seen on the engines. But it is now believed to have been serviced back to flying condition.

NAA HS-748 This fuzzy picture, an enlargement of the photo from the AP Page shows the National Airports Authority’s HS-748, derelict and rotting near the AP Flying Club Hangar. This aircraft is now not there – possibly scrapped.

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