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History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India  
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 13437 times:

I have been researching this out of personal interest for about a month now, but due to another thread that raised questions about some of this data, I decided to complete this piece for the reference and interest of anyone who cares.

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In 1948, Air India International, then owned by Tata Sons Ltd., was granted status to operate international services from India as the designated flag carrier. The Government of India took a 49% stake in the company including an option to purchase a majority interest at their discretion and awarded a 10 year management contract to J.R.D. Tata to run the airline.

One of Air India's first acts under this new mandate was to order Lockheed L-749 Constellations in order to inaugurate international service. The first L-749 registered VT-CQS was delivered in March 1948, quickly followed by two others. In June 1948, the first international flight from Bombay to London was operated via Cairo and Geneva by an L-749 registered VT-CQP. In total, Air India received 3 L-749 base model aircraft.

L-749
VT-CQP : Malabar Princess
VT-CQR : Rajput Princess
VT-CQS : Mughal Princess



Later that year, Lockheed developed the L-749A which offered an additional 2000kg of payload and Air India decided to replace their existing fleet of brand new L-749s with this variant. Fortunately, Qantas was a willing customer for these older airframes. The first sale of "Mughal Princess" was completed in December 1949 and the sale of "Rajput Princess" in April 1951.

Alas, "Malabar Princess" was lost on 3 November 1950 while operating a flight between Cairo and Geneva. Commanded by Capt. Alan Saint, a veteran British pilot, she struck the face of Mont Blanc while on descent into Geneva killing all 40 passengers and 8 crewmembers aboard.

The replacement L-749A Constellations began service in November 1949 and served as the backbone of the fleet (supplemented by DC-3s and Vikings who remained un-named for the most part) for the first half of the next decade. In 1953, the Government excercised their right to purchase the remaining stake in Air India International and the Air Corporations Act was passed nationalizing the aviation industry. The fleet at this time consisted of 4 L-749A Constellations.

L-749A
VT-DAR : Maratha Princess
VT-DAS : Himalayan Princess
VT-DEO : Bengal Princess
VT-DEP : Kashmir Princess

On 11 April 1955, "Kashmir Princess" departed Hong Kong en route to Jakarta on a charter flight carrying a delegation of 8 crew, 8 Chinese diplomats and 3 European journalists heading to the Bandung conference. The flight was originally supposed to be carrying Chinese premier Chou En Lai, but he changed his travel plans at the last moment. One hour prior to landing in Jakarta, a explosive device with a timer exploded in the starboard wheel bay, causing a fire in the #3 fuel tank. The pilot was able to succesfully ditch the aircraft on the high seas near the Natuna Islands. The first officer, flight engineer and navigator escaped the wreckage and were later rescued by the Indonesian Coast Guard. All 16 others aboard, including Captain D.K. Jatar, drowned at sea. Captain Jatar later became the first civilian to be posthomously awarded the Ashoka Chakra for "most conspicuous bravery, daring and self-sacrifice". The assasination attempt on Chou En Lai was discovered to have been the work of the Taiwanese KMT, possibly with the aid of the CIA.

The surviving L-749As were removed from the fleet in January 1958 and sold to Aeronaves de Mexico.

In the meanwhile, the Air India fleet had continued to grow with the introduction of the larger and longer range Super Constellation, the first of which had entered the fleet in June 1954. A total of 10 L-1049 Super Constellations served Air India, a mix of L-1049C, L-1049E and L-1049G variants.

L-1049C
VT-DGL : Rani of Jhansi
VT-DGM : Rani of Ajanta

L-1049E
VT-DHL : Rani of Nilgiris
VT-DHM : Rani of Ellora
VT-DHN : Rani of Chittor

L-1049G
VT-DIL : Rani of Golconda (?)
VT-DIM : Rani of ???
VT-DIN : Rani of Aera
VT-DJW : Rani of Bijapur
VT-DJX : Rani of Madurai


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Photo © Mel Lawrence
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Photo © Mel Lawrence



The L-1049s formed the backbone of the fleet for almost a decade. Alas, the "Rani of Aera" was lost at Bombay airport on 19 July 1959 when she overshot the runway in a rainstorm. Thankfully there was no loss of life.

Air India entered the jet age on 21 February 1960 when it took delivery of the first Boeing 707-437 registered VT-DJJ. The aircraft was initially named "Annapurna" upon delivery, but following a minor fire during a Bombay to Calcutta flight a few years later was re-christened as "Gaurishankar". VT-DJI, the second aircraft delivered and who had been originally named "Gaurishankar", was re-christened as "Nandadevi" at this time.

In total Air India operated 11 Boeing 707s, including 2 Combi variants. The 707s provided yeoman service to the airline until they were finally retired from service in October 1986.

B707-437
VT-DJJ : (Annapurna) Gaurishankar
VT-DJI : (Gaurishankar) Nandadevi
VT-DJK : Everest
VT-DMN : Kanchenjunga
VT-DNY : Dhaulagiri
VT-DNZ : Nanga Parbat

B707-337B
VT-DPM : Makalu
VT-DSI : Lhotse
VT-DVA : Annapurna

B707-337C
VT-DVB : Kamet
VT-DXT : Trishul


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Photo © Eduard Marmet
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Photo © Art Brett - AirTeamImages



On June 8, 1962 the airline’s name was officially truncated to Air India. Three days later, Air India became the world’s first all-jet airline with the retirement of the last L-1049A Super Constellation.

On 24 January 1966, "Kanchenjunga" was operating a flight from Beirut to Geneva when a miscommunication between Capt. J.T. D'Souza and Geneva Air Trafic Control caused the aircraft to crash into the face of Mont Blanc. All 11 crew and 106 passengers aboard were killed. Ironically, the crash site was only 200 meters from the very spot that "Malabar Princess" had made her final resting place 16 years earlier.

On 23 January 1971, "Nandadevi" (nee Gaurishankar mk.1) was being used for pilot training at Bombay airport. During one go-around, Capt. Hosali attempted to simulate a 3-engined takeoff with #4 engine out but Capt. Kapadia failed to compensate appropriately and the aircraft ran off the runway. #3 and #4 engine struck a fixed object and were torn off. The aircraft was destroyed by fire but all aboard escaped without injury.

On 22 June 1982, "Gaurishankar" (nee Annapurna mk.1) was attempting to land at Bombay airport in a rainstorm. The co-pilot flared the aircraft too early and she touched down hard, hydroplaning on a patch of water. When go-around thrust was applied by Capt. Goodwin there was insufficient runway left to take off. The aircraft ran off the runway into a drainage ditch. The tail empennage seperated from the fuselage and collapsed onto the rear section of the plane. Cabin crew Sampat Kumar and Elizabeth Job as well as 15 passengers were killed. The remaining 10 crew and 84 passengers survived the accident.

The morning of 18 April 1971 represented the proudest moment in Air India's history as the first Boeing 747-237B registered VT-EBD touched down at Bombay, catapulting the airline into a select group of international carriers to operate this "747th wonder of the world". To commemorate this occasion, a new livery was introduced in a "Your Palace In The Sky" theme featuring Rajasthani arches individually painted around every window on the main deck.


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Photo © M.Oertle



Air India operated a total of 11 B747-237Bs, including 4 that remain with the airline today.

B747-237B
VT-EBD : Emperor Ashoka
VT-EBE : (Emperor) Shahjehan
VT-EBN : (Emperor) Rajendra Chola
VT-EBO : (Emperor) Vikramaditya
VT-EDU : (Emperor) Akbar
VT-EFJ : (Emperor) Chandragupta
VT-EFO : (Emperor) Kanishka
VT-EFU : Krishna Deva Raya
VT-EGA : Samudragupta
VT-EGB : Mahendra Verman
VT-EGC : Harsha Vardhan

On New Years Day of 1978, "Emperor Ashoka", the beloved flagship of the fleet and pride of India was lost on takeoff from Bombay en route to Dubai. The crash was attributed to the failure of the Attitude Director Indicator on the instrument panel and the inability of Capt. Kukar to respond appropriately. All 23 crew and 190 passengers on board were killed.

In August 1979, the Janata Party government of Charan Singh made one of their first acts in power an order to strike the word "Emperor" from the names of Air India's aircraft. A simultaneous order was given to replace English with Hindi titles on the port surface of the vertical fin. Prior to this, both surfaces of the vertical fin had English titles while the fuselage had Hindi titles on the starboard side and English on the port. "Krishna Deva Raya" was the first aircraft delivered under this new convention, while the other aircraft were repainted by the end of 1981.


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Photo © Bill Sheridan
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Photo © Frank J. Mirande



24 June 1985 was another dark day in Air India’s history as (Emperor) "Kanishka” fell victim to a terrorist bombing while operating a flight from Canada to London. All 22 crew and 327 passengers aboard were killed.


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Photo © Johan Ljungdahl



In order to replace "Kanishka", a decision was made to acquire a single Boeing 747-212B that had previously been owned by Singapore Airlines. Accordingly, VT-ENQ was delivered to Air India in May 1987. Keeping with the tradition of naming Boeing 747s after Indian kings, it was proposed to name this aircraft as "Shivaji" after the 16th century king of the Marathas. Unfortunately the Shiv Sena, a local Bombay political party that considered Shivaji as their spiritual leader, took offense to this proposal. They believed that it was an insult to their leader that a previously owned aircraft would be named in his honor, whereas other leaders had brand new aircraft as their namesake. In the end, a compromise was reached to name the aircraft "Himalaya" after the mountain range in Northern India.

B747-212B
VT-ENQ : Himalaya


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Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner



In October 1988, Air India took delivery of a pair of a brand new aircraft type, the Boeing 747-337M Combi. The first of these airframes was finally named "Shivaji" and it was proposed to name the second one as "Aurangzeb" after the Mughal king of the same period. Again the Shiv Sena raised objection, primarily because they felt it an affront to Shivaji that a Muslim king would have had the same type of aircraft named after him. Accordingly, the second aircraft was named "Narasimha Varman" after the Hindu Pallava king instead. It was also decided that the convention of naming Boeing 747s after kings would be abandoned.

B747-337M
VT-EPW : Shivaji
VT-EPX : Narasimha Varman


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Photo © Garry Lewis - AirTeamImages
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Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages



While this drama was ongoing with the Boeing 747s, a sizeable fleet of Airbus aircraft was quietly being built up. The first of these, an Airbus A300B4-203 registered VT-EHN had been delivered in August 1982. Three of these models were followed in April 1986 by the first of eight Airbus A310-304 registered VT-EJG. A decision was made to name all Airbus aircraft after rivers in India.

A300B4-203
VT-EHN : Ganga
VT-EHO : Godavari
VT-EHQ : Cauvery

A310-304
VT-EJG : Jamuna
VT-EJH : Teesta
VT-EJI : Saraswati
VT-EJJ : Beas
VT-EJK : Gomati
VT-EJL : Sabarmati
VT-EQS : Krishna
VT-EQT : Narmada

On 15 October 1989, Air India unveiled a new corporate identity that featured a sun positioned in metallic gold against a deep red sash. "Rajendra Chola" was the first aircraft painted in this new livery, but there was widespread employee disapproval of the change. "Shahjehan", "Akbar", "Himalaya", "Narasimha Varman", "Teesta" and "Gomati" were repainted into these new colors, while "Krishna" and "Narmada" were delivered in the livery. After two years of plumetting employee morale and widespread public condemnation of the new brand, it was decided to revert to the previous "Your Palace In The Sky" marketing identity.


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Photo © Axel Juengerich
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Photo © M.Oertle



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Photo © Colin Parker
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Photo © JetPix



In August 1993, Air India took delivery of the new flagship of its fleet when the first Boeing 747-437 registered VT-ESM made history by operating the first ever nonstop flight between New York and Delhi. The Boeing 747-400s were to be named after places of architectural or tourist interest in India.

B747-437
VT-ESM : Konark
VT-ESN : Tanjore
VT-ESO : Khajuraho
VT-ESP : Ajanta
VT-EVA : Agra
VT-EVB : Velhagoa


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Photo © Paul Dopson
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Photo © Chris Sheldon



Starting from December 2000, a number of additional Airbus A310-304 and Airbus A310-324 aircraft were taken on lease. These maintained the naming convention of the rivers in India. In the meanwhile, the three Airbus A300B4-203s were donated to the Government of Afghanistan to enable them to restart air service by Ariana Afghan Airlines in 2002.


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Photo © Lee Collins
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Photo © Christoph Fischaleck



A310-324
VT-EVE : Periyar
VT-EVF : Mahanadi
VT-EVU : Godavari (mk.2)
VT-EVY : Ganga (mk.2)
VT-AIA : Tapti
VT-AIB : Pennar

A310-304
VT-EVG : Kosi
VT-EVH : Tungabhadra
VT-EVI : Brahmaputra
VT-EVW : Cauvery (mk.2)
VT-EVX : Luni


MyAviation.net photo:

Photo © Sean Mendis
MyAviation.net photo:

Photo © Debjit Mukerji



In November 2002, Air India acquired the first Boeing 747-4B5 on lease from Korean Air. In the interest of maintaining the convention of naming the cities after places of architectural or tourist interest, it was proposed to name the first leased aircraft registered VT-EVJ as "Prayag" after the ancient holy city of the Hindus. Unfortunately, due to protests by an ultra-nationalist Hindu group that took offense to a previously owned aircraft being christened with the name of its holy city, the aircraft was finally named as "Fatehpur Sikri" after the world heritage site of sandstone buildings.

B747-4B5
VT-EVJ : (Prayag) Fatehpur Sikri
VT-AIC : Sanchi
VT-AID : Kaziranga

B747-412
VT-AIE : Mamallapuram

And that is the history of every aircraft operated by Air India in the last half century and more.

VT-CQP : w/o Mont Blanc 1950
VT-CQR : to Qantas as VH-EAE, to BOAC as G-ANTG, to Western Airlines as N1552V, b/u c1970 Kenai AK
VT-CQS : to Qantas as VH-EAF, to BOAC as G-ANTF, to Capitol Airways as N9816F, to BOAC as G-ANTF, b/u c1971 Baginton UK
VT-DAR : to Aeronaves de Mexico as XA-MEW, to Carreras Transportes Aereos as LV-IIC, derelict in Argentina
VT-DAS : to Aeronaves de Mexico as XA-MEU, w/o Oakland CA 1961
VT-DEO : to Aeronaves de Mexico as XA-MEV, w/o Guadalajara Mexico 1958
VT-DEP : w/o Sarawak 1955
VT-DGL : to Indian Air Force as BG581, to Indian Navy as IN318, b/u Goa 1989
VT-DGM : to Indian Air Force as BG582, to Indian Navy as IN319, b/u Goa 1989
VT-DHL : to Indian Air Force as BG580, to Indian Navy as IN317, b/u Goa 1989
VT-DHM : to Indian Air Force as BG575, to Indian Navy as IN315, preserved at Indian Naval Museum Goa
VT-DHN : to Indian Air Force as BG577, derelict at Pune 1984
VT-DIL : to Indian Air Force as BG578, derelict at Pune 1984
VT-DIM : to Indian Air Force as BG576, to Indian Navy as IN316, b/u Goa 1989
VT-DIN : w/o Bombay 1959
VT-DJW : to Indian Air Force as BG583, preserved at Pune for IAF Museum Delhi
VT-DJX : to Indian Air Force as BG579, derelict at Pune 1984
VT-DJJ : w/o Bombay 1982
VT-DJI : w/o Bombay 1971
VT-DJK : b/u Bombay 1982
VT-DMN : w/o Mont Blanc 1966
VT-DNY : b/u Bombay 1982
VT-DNZ : b/u Bombay 1987
VT-DPM : to Air Atlanta Icelandic as TF-IUE, to Boeing as N8880A, stored at Davis-Monathan AFB Tucson AZ 1989
VT-DSI : to Liberia as EL-AJS, to Boeing as N8870A, stored at Davis-Monathan AFB Tucson AZ 1989
VT-DVA : to Liberia as EL-AJR, to Boeing as N8840A, stored at Davis-Monathan AFB Tucson AZ 1989
VT-DVB : to Indian Air Force as K2900, in service
VT-DXT : to Indian Air Force as K2899, in service
VT-EBD : w/o Bombay 1978
VT-EBE : b/u Mojave CA 2001 as N960JS, fuselage stored at Edwards AFB CA 2002
VT-EBN : b/u Mojave CA 2001
VT-EBO : w/o Delhi 1990
VT-EDU : sold for scrap, no further info available
VT-EFJ : to Tower Air as N104TR, cvt freighter, to UPS as N524UP, to Polar Air Cargo as N524UP, in service
VT-EFO : w/o Atlantic Ocean 1985
VT-EFU : stored at Mumbai 2003
VT-EGA : in service
VT-EGB : in service
VT-EGC : in service
VT-EHN : to Ariana Afghan as YA-BAC, in service
VT-EHO : to Ariana Afghan as YA-BAB, in service
VT-EHQ : to Ariana Afghan as YA-BAD, in service
VT-EJG : in service
VT-EJH : in service
VT-EJI : in service
VT-EJJ : in service
VT-EJK : in service
VT-EJL : in service
VT-ENQ : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-SQK, to UPS as N522UP, in service
VT-EPW : in service
VT-EPX : in service
VT-EQS : in service
VT-EQT : in service
VT-ESM : in service
VT-ESN : in service
VT-ESO : in service
VT-ESP : in service
VT-EVA : in service
VT-EVB : in service
VT-EVE : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STS, in service
VT-EVF : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STU, in service
VT-EVG : ex Wardair C-GCWD, ex Kuwait Airways A6-KUA, ex MEA D-APOL and F-OHLH, in service
VT-EVH : ex Wardair C-GKWD, ex Kuwait Airways A6-KUD, ex MEA D-APOP and F-OHLI, to Jordan as JY-JAH
VT-EVI : ex Kenya Airways 5Y-BFT, in service
VT-EVJ : ex Korean Air HL7409, in service
VT-EVU : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STY, in service
VT-EVY : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STW, in service
VT-EVW : ex SAETA HC-BRP, ex Royal Jordanian JY-AGS, in service
VT-EVX : ex Emirates A6-EKP, in service
VT-AIA : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STA, in service
VT-AIB : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STS, in service
VT-AIC : ex Korean Air HL7407, in service
VT-AID : ex Korean Air HL7481, in service
VT-AIE : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-SMG, in service
VT-AIF : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-SMF, service entry scheduled
VT-AIG : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STB, service entry scheduled
VT-AIH : ex Singapore Airlines 9V-STZ, service entry scheduled

[Edited 2004-08-07 07:17:37]

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 13345 times:

Sean, congrats and beautiful! Will have a very close look soon, but will email you regd that.. again, my complements!

My nostalgia comes back: I want to travel on one of the 237B's before they are crashed..  Big grin


User currently offlineSkyguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 481 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13307 times:

Mindboggling piece of work Sean!! Well done!!!


"Those who talk, do not know, and those who know, do not talk."
User currently offlineShankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1543 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13289 times:

Hats, or should I say turbans, off to a top bit of homework!

A fine tribute to one of the worlds prominent airlines



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineWhitehatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 13222 times:

Add another user to your respected-by list. Excellent article.

User currently offlineThunderbird1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 13201 times:

That is awesome Sean. Thanks so much for the illustrated history!

I'm rather stunned that

1) The name Prayag was passed up by, of all people, Hindu ultras
2) That the name Aurangzeb was even considered

I'd love to know (in continuation of something you've brought up earlier) what the little quirks of each of the 744s are, which birds are considered the best-behaved by the pilots, etc. Those inside stories are great to hear...


User currently offlineAKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2192 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13152 times:

Sean,

What an amazing gift you've given to us. Thanks for taking the time to do this!


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13141 times:

Kanchenjunga, the Boeing 707 that smashed into Mt. Blanc was also the jet that brought Jackie Kennedy to India back in 1962 on a state visit.

If you ever visit Chamonix, the glacier there still spews out bits and pieces of the 707 almost 40 years after the crash. I saw it in 1996 and you can still see seat fabric mixed with wires and what-have-you.

Interestingly, it was also the aircraft that first introduced my parents. My Dad was flying to New York as a fledgling Esso Eastern Manager trainee; my Mom was a TWA air hostess who missed her TWA flight because of an illness and was flying Air India to Paris to meet her crew.

If Air India ever buy the A340, they should paint one in the old 707 livery (with red engine pylons). They'd look really awesome !


User currently offlineGamps From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13129 times:

On 24 January 1966, "Kanchenjunga" was operating a flight from Beirut to Geneva when a miscommunication between Capt. J.T. D'Souza and Geneva Air Trafic Control caused the aircraft to crash into the face of Mont Blanc. All 11 crew and 106 passengers aboard were killed

Thanks for this info. Till now I did not know that it was a "mis-communcation" which caused the accident. Considering father of Indian nuclear program Dr.Homi Jehangir Bhabha was on the plane, I wonder if we will ever know why the miscommunication happenned! Was there any detailed investigation conducted to delve into the incident?

Anyway thank you B747-437b for a great trip down the memory lane. Add some more pictures and you have a great coffee table book material!

[Edited 2004-07-23 04:05:45]

User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2997 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13117 times:

Well done! This was a fascinating and worthwhile read, obviously the result of much research, and a refreshing change from the many mindless posts seen here on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing.


Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlineSafetyDude From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3795 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13106 times:

Wow, very thorough and well done.

 Smile
-Will



"She Flew For What We Stand For"
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 13102 times:

I wonder if we will ever know why the miscommunication happenned.

It was a very basic miscommunication actually. There had been a malfunction in the navigation system on departure from Beirut so Capt. D'Souza was requesting a visual approach to Geneva. He mistook his position as being abreast of Mont Blanc and asked Geneva ATC to confirm. Geneva replied that "you have 5 miles to Mont Blanc". Whereas they actually meant that he had not yet passed abeam of Mont Blanc, he understood it to mean that he was 5 miles abreast of Mont Blanc and hence was safe to commence his descent for Geneva. Unfortunately, the aircraft had controlled flight into terrain a few minutes later.

Interstingly enough, although there were no human survivors from the accident, the aircraft had been transporting a cargo of laboratory monkeys. A number of these survived the impact and were captured by the rescue crews who arrived at the site later that day.


User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 13036 times:

Very well done! A lot of good information to know about!

9V-SPJ


User currently offlinePhaeton From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 406 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 13025 times:

Wow, a very nice piece of work. I think there should be an special archive on airliners.net where the editors select excellent pieces of work like this one and place it there, so it doesn't just disappear in the massive archive of all threads. This would add to the quality of the website.

Thomas



"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.", Winston Churchill
User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 13006 times:

Dear Sean

Absolutely top notch work. Well researched and comprehensive. I doubt AI themselves will have such a concise and precise write up on their fleet.


rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offline22right From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 420 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12905 times:

In reply #14 Roy wrote:

Pride of India? Huh?

Ashoka the king yes. But a Boeing 747 being the “pride of India”? Puhleeze!

Truly, the words of a man who shags to airplanes every night!!

Get a life da!


And once again, some people keep bringing up their very personal animosities. Roy, regardless of what you may (or may not think) of Sean personally, you have to admit that this was a great piece of work and it definitely took some special effort on his part.

Appreciate it??? Nooooo!!! You would rather post these inane flame baits. Shame on you!

I (or another user) could just as easily have hit "Suggest deletion" on your stupid-a** posting... but I think it is good to keep it around since it showcases your (in)ability to conduct objective discussions on these forums.




"I never apologize! I am sorry, but that's the way it is!" - Homer Simpson
User currently offlineNa From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 10731 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12897 times:

Excellent. This is what I love this forum for!

User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12878 times:

I was in India in January 1978 and there was a national sadness when the Emperor Ashoka crashed. Remember that back then, virtually every little toy store in every two bit town in India carried these 747 toys with the words Emperor Ashoka emblazoned on the side. Also back then 747s were still a relatively new phenomenon, Air India was not synonymous with junk, and flying a "Jumbo Jet" was a very big deal !

So, calling the Emperor Ashoka India's pride may not be that much of a stretch.


User currently offlineGopal From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 12808 times:

Sean,

Thank you very much for you well researched and informative article. You should consider publishing your work in other magazines, newspapers etc. Everyone (Indians in particular) will take pride in reading about the Air India's long journey since India's independence in 1947. Whatever one may say about Air India's inefficiencies, it has made great strides since its inception and is continously improving. The fares ( esp. US-India) fares are also very attractive. It also remains one of the most attractive airline for elderly parents visiting children in the US and other countries.

Sean, I would also like to thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of the airline industry with the forum via your intelligent and informative posts. Small wonder that you are respected by so many a-netters!





User currently offlineThunderbird1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 12800 times:

Sean, regarding the -4B5's from Korean Air (and the SIA aircraft to be coming in), will AI have a purchase option when the lease term expires?

And why didn't AI simply order some new -437s? (I'm assuming economic reasons, with the economic downturn freeing up some 744s....)


User currently offlineBaliMorris From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12780 times:

Excellent article. Very interesting, indeed. My one and only flight on AI was aboard VT-EDU (Akbar) from Hong Kong to Tokyo in the mid-80's which was very enjoyable. Funny thing, I may have imagined this, but it seemed as though the black paint on the nose of the aircraft wasn't the sort of shiny paint you'd normally see on an aircraft, but rather a sort of dull looking paint that looked as though it had been brushed on rather than sprayed. Anyone else notice that, or is it just in my head?

Incidentally, wasn't Akbar also a mughal emperor? Given the Aurangzeb debacle, it seems surprising that they ever managed to name and aircraft after Akbar. It's quite amazing that in a country that seems to pride itself on being secular, the Shiv Sena people can have as much clout as they do. One would expect such pettiness to be greeted with a resounding "get stuffed", but I've read that they can be quite militant. Anyroad, that's another story.

Also, in regards to the new year's day crash, I'm sure I read somewhere that they attributed it, at least in part, to the captain being drunk. Any truth to that?


User currently offlineMandargb From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12767 times:

Awesome, Wonderful.
Should this be named "Air india Fleet 101"
If someone can also update chronological history of the routes these planes were operating that will make it a reference document.
I think this should go in the Articles on the .net in some form.
Congratulations B747-437B.
Anything in works for Indian airlines ?


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12763 times:

"Given the Aurangzeb debacle, it seems surprising that they ever managed to name and aircraft after Akbar. It's quite amazing that in a country that seems to pride itself on being secular, the Shiv Sena people can have as much clout as they do."

First of all, Akbar was the quintessentially good and secular Mughal Emperor; Aurangzeb was a hoodlum. Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal; Aurangzeb just imposed the shariah. So Aurangzeb is not regarded as a good Mughal, but more as a fundamentalist Muslim. In fact, I can't believe that anyone with half a brain wanted to name a multi-million dollar airplane after him.

Also, back in the 70s the Shiv Sena was just a straggly group of local politicos who could not have swayed JRD Tata.

Incidentally, it is JRD's Birth Centenary. Needless to say, he would be horrified if he flew Air India today.


User currently offlineThunderbird1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12735 times:

Aurangzeb was a hoodlum. Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal; Aurangzeb just imposed the shariah. So Aurangzeb is not regarded as a good Mughal, but more as a fundamentalist Muslim. In fact, I can't believe that anyone with half a brain wanted to name a multi-million dollar airplane after him.

I agree. However, Aurangzeb was more than just a hoodlum: he destroyed countless temples, imposed a jizya (Hindu-only tax) in an overwhelmingly Hindu country, and was heavily inclined to violence (as really all the Mughals were, Akbar included--but at least Akbar had some wisdom in him).


User currently offlineBaliMorris From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12706 times:

Interesting. I made my comments not having known really anything about either Aurangzeb or Shivaji. They seem to have been adversaries, from what I've determined based on a quick internet search, and so I'll agree that the idea of naming one aircraft after each of them seems to amount to stirring the pot a bit, which isn't usually such a good idea. But I still maintain that the fact that the catalyst for the name change was the rantings of a militant group rather than a public outcry from the "voice of the people" is a bit of a telling sign of who actually calls the shots in the Indian democracy. Personally, I think it would be a lot safer to stick to naming aircraft after something a bit less politically charged like names of places within India, or types of Indian tea  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Anyway, I'm less interested in getting into a political discussion than I am in the drunken pilot and the latex house paint someone may have used to paint the aircraft I flew on...


25 Lindy field : Inspired by your efforts, I just took the opportunity to add the complete aircraft type and c/n for the entire Air India Airbus fleet. One thing I not
26 B747-437B : I see no mention of the L-1011s or the cargo division's DC-8s. Did these aircraft not receive names? Neither the L-1011s nor the DC-8s were operated b
27 TKMCE : Thank you for an excellent post. For me I still remember the Gaurishankar incident. One of our close family friends with her infant son were on the pl
28 B747-437B : Also, in regards to the new year's day crash, I'm sure I read somewhere that they attributed it, at least in part, to the captain being drunk. Any tru
29 IndianFlyboy : Sean, You have just outdone yourself again . Wonderful stuff , why dont you go ahead and post this elsewhere as well for reference , this post will ge
30 Vimanav : As for appreciation, I appreciate the effort and all. Just pointed out the stupidity of calling a Boeing 747 the *cough cough* "pride of India". Roy T
31 A330Fan1 : Absolutely brilliant research, man! Very interesting to read about AI's fleet and where are it's planes have been. Thanks for taking time to provide t
32 HAWK21M : Great Stuff Sean.Fantastic work. Lets hear about Indian Airlines,Vayudoot,Pawan Hans,Air Asiatic,East West Airlines,Skyline,Air Sahara,Jet Airways,Blu
33 Post contains images UA744Flagship : Wow, Sean. Consulting slow these days? Good job. Shows your devotion to AI. Interesting read.
34 Post contains images Indianguy : Emperor Ashoka being arguably India's greatest ruler, it was befitting that an aircraft which was the pride of India be named after him I hope you me
35 Sshank : Terrific piece of work, Sean. Brings back memories - Narasimha Varman was my first 747 ride, way back in 91. I for one will be sad when AI ceases to b
36 NWA742 : Great post Sean, I appreciate your time sharing all your knowledge of Air India with us. We always enjoy your posts, and this is no exception. -NWA742
37 Post contains images Alpha 1 : Outstanding posts. Incredible detail, my man. If I tried to do this with CO, I'd die of old age.
38 Post contains links B747-437B : why dont you go ahead and post this elsewhere as well for reference , this post will get locked and move back in the listing at somepoint in time This
39 707437 : Call it the Pride of India. . . I've worked with Boeing in my career, my Mom has worked there for ~20 yrs, I've got an uncle working on 7E7, a brother
40 Post contains links and images Na : Sean, as the expert you are can you tell me why the anti-flare panels in front on the 747-237B and -337 cockpits were repainted blue recently? And why
41 Jaysit : The pictures above attest just how good the Palace in the Skies livery still looks today. Does anyone know who came up with the concept? Was it JRD hi
42 Post contains links and images Na : I knew one was missing. Check out this: View Large View MediumPhoto © M.Oertle
43 Post contains images Vimanav : Why are there no Parsees with a penchant for airplanes, fashion, style, service, and airline management left in India? Maybe they are in Pakistan Behr
44 Mrniji : The pictures above attest just how good the Palace in the Skies livery still looks today. I agree. Nevertheless, I would like to see a relaunch with s
45 Thunderbird1 : I prefer the other (peacock-based) livery to this one. I don't like the green. I would prefer updating the current livery with some think gold borders
46 DIJKKIJK : Nice article, B747-437! You must be very patient to have typed all that. Just wanting to ask why AI doesn't have it's cargo subsidary active anymore.
47 Sulman : What an interesting and informative work. Perhaps a candidate for a front page article?
48 Scbriml : Sean, Great post, very interesting. You should repost this as an article so it doesn't just fade away amongst the normal dross of a.net A vs. B thread
49 Post contains links and images Mrniji : OK, great, forumadmin thought my previous post was a copyright violation, although source of image, which is free in the www, was clearly stated.. - n
50 PA110 : Outstanding bit of research and presentation. Thank you so much for adding to the often lacking quality of posts on this forum. Your history of Air In
51 Post contains links B747-437B : I want to travel on one of the 237B's before they are scrapped.. The -237Bs have been completely removed from the winter schedule now, so the only cha
52 Jaysit : On another note, wasn't Persis Khambatta an Air India airhostess at one time? Bless her heart. Terrible actress, but a beautiful woman. Maybe AI can n
53 Post contains links and images Vzlet : Does anyone have any specific details as to why VT-EJL flew as F-WWCB for over 18 months (6/9/85 - 30/3/87)? Did Airbus and Air India have an agreemen
54 Vimanav : VT-EJL, "Sabarmati" was the last of the first batch of 6 A310-300s ordered by AI and was delivered on 31MAR87. So it is hardly surprising it flew with
55 Vzlet : Vimanav, I agree that it's normal for a Toulous-assembled aircraft to carry a temporary French registration but, in this case, I'm curious as to why i
56 Speedbird2025 : I don't have any idea why I just now saw this post. But all I can say is what a GREAT post Sean. Thanks for taking time (alot of time) to post this gr
57 Thud : Sean, My compliments. I have a few general question about the Gandhi brothers. Did Rajiv fly for Air India or Indian Airlines and was Sanjay a qualifi
58 Mrniji : Did Rajiv fly for Air India or Indian Airlines IC
59 Indianguy : was Sanjay a qualified pilot when he meet his doom? Yes. Cause of crash. Failure to recover from spin. -Roy
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