B747-437B
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History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:00 am

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]
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
mrniji
Posts: 5382
Joined: Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:51 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:07 am

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
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
Skyguy
Posts: 467
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 1:55 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:22 am

Mindboggling piece of work Sean!! Well done!!!
"Those who talk, do not know, and those who know, do not talk."
 
shankly
Posts: 1197
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2000 10:42 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:34 am

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
 
whitehatter
Posts: 5180
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 6:52 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:57 am

Add another user to your respected-by list. Excellent article.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
Thunderbird1
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2004 10:23 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:18 am

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...
 
akelley728
Posts: 1965
Joined: Tue Dec 07, 1999 12:35 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:44 am

Sean,

What an amazing gift you've given to us. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 10:57 am

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 !
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
gamps
Posts: 456
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:05 am

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]
 
FoxBravo
Posts: 2769
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:34 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:15 am

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
 
SafetyDude
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:20 am

Wow, very thorough and well done.

 Smile
-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
B747-437B
Topic Author
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:24 am

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.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
9V-SPJ
Posts: 667
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2000 1:51 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:37 pm

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

9V-SPJ
 
Phaeton
Posts: 398
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 7:19 pm

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:43 pm

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
 
Vimanav
Posts: 1439
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:29 pm

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
 
22right
Posts: 393
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm

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
 
na
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:17 pm

Excellent. This is what I love this forum for!
 
jaysit
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:33 pm

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
gopal
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 1999 3:05 am

RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:05 am

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!



 
Thunderbird1
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:13 am

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....)
 
BaliMorris
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:39 am

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?
 
mandargb
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:55 am

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 ?
 
jaysit
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:57 am

"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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
Thunderbird1
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 4:17 am

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).
 
BaliMorris
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 4:58 am

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...
 
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lindy field
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 12:27 pm

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 noticed about your history - I see no mention of the L-1011s or the cargo division's DC-8s. Did these aircraft not receive names?

Edward
 
B747-437B
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:56 pm

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 by Air India. They were simply wetleased from Caribjet and Evergreen respectively. I have not included aircraft in this list that were not actually operated by Air India personnel. Other wetleases include A310s from Air Club, IL-62s from Aeroflot, a variety of Hajj leases from Tower Air and Air Atlanta Icelandic and even a Comet Mk.IV from BOAC in 1962.

"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
TKMCE
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:30 pm

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 plane. Thankfully they survived. If I remember correctly, the aircraft was coming from SIN or KUL via MAA and these people had boarded at MAA to connect to another Air India flight to New York.
 
B747-437B
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:34 pm

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?

Rumors about Capt. Kukar have circulated since the day of the crash and I really am not comfortable publicly discussing a number of stories shared with me in confidence by Air India employees over the years, including one very convincing account from someone who met with Kukar just minutes before he boarded the ill-fated flight. There is no good that can come from smearing the memory of this man via rumors, so suffice it to say that at no time during the investigation was any evidence uncovered that Kukar acted in a way consistent with anything other than poor judgement.

The aircraft departed runway 27 at BOM heading to Dubai. About 60 seconds after departure, Kukar placed the aircraft into a 15-degree bank to the right in order to intercept the airway to Dubai. Due to the jamming of captain's side ADI at this moment displaying the right-banked attitude and in the absence of any visible horizon, he overcompensated on the recovery and the aircraft rolled into a 10-degree left bank. Kukar then made the error of applying hard left aileron to test his instrument's responsiveness, which the FO Capt. Virmani read on his ADI to imply that it had also failed (the prescribed right turn should not have involved a 32-degree left bank). Kukar then applied hard left aileron and left rudder in an attempt to return to wings-level (believing that he was still in the 15-degree right bank that his instrument showed), causing the aircraft to roll into a 100-degree left bank and 30-degree nose down attitude from 1500 feet ASL. At this point, the aircraft was doomed. FE Fario attempted to draw Kukar's attention to the turn indicator, but impact with the water occured at 101 seconds after liftoff. It took only 25 seconds from instrument failure and 18 seconds from Kukar's fatal input of hard left aileron in attempt to correct before impact occured.

[Edited 2004-07-24 07:39:24]
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
IndianFlyboy
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:29 pm

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 get locked and move back in the listing at somepoint in time.

Roy,
Go through all the posts on this thread , you are the only one who has something to crap about .If you cannot appreciate a good post , you dont need to comment about it either.


Regards
 
Vimanav
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sat Jul 24, 2004 4:32 pm

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

The venom you spew is appalling. Yes.. whether you may accept it or not, Emperor Ashoka - the airplane, was the Pride of India. AI being one of the launch customers of the B747, it was a matter of great honor for India to be in the august company of other first world countries' airlines who had ordered these magnificent airplanes.

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 have no idea where you were, but yes I do recall the sense of national tragedy when Emperor Ashoka went down.

I speak only for myself Roy, but each time I think of Emperor Ashoka and Kanishka, I feel a deep sense of pain at their loss (even though I did not know anyone on board). And let me tell you, I am not the exception... I am sure there are many more like me in India who share this pain even though they may not have known any of those on board. Yes, its a free forum for you to express your views but not to belittle the feelings of others who may have been more sensitive than you to such events.

rgds//Vimanav
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
 
A330Fan1
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Sat Jul 24, 2004 6:29 pm

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 this awesome information.

-A330Fan1
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 1:47 am

Great Stuff Sean.Fantastic work.

Lets hear about Indian Airlines,Vayudoot,Pawan Hans,Air Asiatic,East West Airlines,Skyline,Air Sahara,Jet Airways,Blue Dart etc from your view.
It would be fantastic reading.

Maybe you could most this in the Article section.

regds
HAWK
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
UA744Flagship
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:01 am

Wow, Sean. Consulting slow these days?  Big grin

Good job. Shows your devotion to AI. Interesting read.
no wire hangers!
 
IndianGuy
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:55 am


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 meant it was befitting that Ashoka had an (majestic) aircraft like the 747 named after him? or did u mean the other way around? If so then...!  Laugh out loud


I am sure there are many more like me in India who share this pain even though they may not have known any of those on board.

People feel for the poor souls who lost their lives. But the loss of the aircraft? Face it: calling a 747 the "pride of India" was plain stupid. There is no venom involved.

-Roy
 
sshank
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:26 pm

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 be an all widebody airline next year with the 737s and all. I guess that is inevitable.

-S
 
NWA742
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:16 pm

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
Some people are like slinkies - not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs
 
Alpha 1
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:19 pm

Outstanding posts. Incredible detail, my man.

If I tried to do this with CO, I'd die of old age.  Big grin
 
B747-437B
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Mon Jul 26, 2004 4:00 am

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 piece is now archived at http://www.airwhiners.net/whine_cheez/20040726.htm.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
707437
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Mon Jul 26, 2004 4:36 pm

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 in law working on structures for 747, 767 & 777 and many other Desis have worked there and contributed to its success. In the Seattle area and with the numbers of NRIs in the engineering field here it is impossible for Boeing to build any aircraft without someone of Indian origin working on it. I bet there are a lot more NRIs working on Boeings than any other manufacturer. For those of us here (given Indian politics) we do take it personal when they don't choose Boeing.

I use the callsign "707437" because that is the aircraft type that brought my parents to America in the first place.

Can a 747 be referred to as the pride of India. . . I think so. . .


Sean,
Good work on the history but as you can tell I'd like to see more 744, 738s and maybe 777s and 7e7s in the future.

If you're ever in Seattle let me know!
 
na
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Mon Jul 26, 2004 10:54 pm

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 the 744s don´t have one?


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742 until ca.2000


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742 now


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743 now


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744
 
jaysit
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:14 pm

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 himself? Bobby Kookah?

Why are there no Parsees with a penchant for airplanes, fashion, style, service, and airline management left in India?
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
na
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air Indi

Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:14 am

I knew one was missing.
Check out this:

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Photo © M.Oertle

 
Vimanav
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:26 am

Why are there no Parsees with a penchant for airplanes, fashion, style, service, and airline management left in India?

Maybe they are in Pakistan  Laugh out loud
Behramjee... I hope you are reading this in BOM.

rgds//Vimanav
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
 
mrniji
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:40 am

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 some more color and maybe the maharajah/centaur on the tale
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
Thunderbird1
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Tue Jul 27, 2004 1:51 am

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/accents around the red paint. In addition, I think the 744 bellies should be painted light grey (like the A-310s). Polished bellies look fantastic, but they don't look good when they're not shiny...
 
DIJKKIJK
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:35 am

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. I'm sure there must be plenty of scope for cargo movement to/from India.

Any plans to convert the A310s or the 747-200s to freighters once the A340s/737-800s atart arriving?


Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
 
sulman
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:42 am

What an interesting and informative work. Perhaps a candidate for a front page article?
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
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scbriml
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:45 am

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 threads.

All those in favour say aye. Aye!
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
 
mrniji
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RE: History Of Every Aircraft Operated By Air India

Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:48 am

OK, great, forumadmin thought my previous post was a copyright violation, although source of image, which is free in the www, was clearly stated.. - no need to argue  Innocent . Then I only post the link to the pic:


http://perso.wanadoo.fr/puck/AirIndia_74.jpg

I found this scheme, designed by L.1011 ... it would be a nice start to relaunch w/o shunning the old livery.. a little post-modern  Big thumbs up

Personally, I would articulate the windows more, take a lighter background color and put the maharajah on the tale
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)

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