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VT-AHB, Circa 1939-1940

Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:40 am

If I could impose upon someone who might be able help identify something for me, I would sincerely appreciate it.

In a collection of travel items of my great aunts' and uncles' from the 1940's and 50's, I've run across one thing in particular that has me stumped, and even Google cannot help me decipher its meaning.

There is a silver and black printed card, the size of a modern-day postcard that has a wall hanger attached to the back and two holes punched into the opposite end. It has the scene of a mountain, and a train crossing a bridge, underneath which a steamship is moored at port with a crane loading or unloading cargo, and a sailboat passing by it. Behind the ship there's a truck appearing to begin to ascend a road up the mountain behind a horse-drawn cart that's further up the road.

In the skies above the mountain peak there is a propeller biplane with the registration VT-AHB and some indistinguishable airline markings, and the words WHY NOT FLY with an arrow pointing towards the plane. The engines appear to be attached to the top of the bottom wing.

At the bottom of the card it says: Season's Greetings 1939-1940 Juhu, Bombay, From R.K. Ghosh.

Does anyone know what this plane and airline might have been, and was Juhu a neighborhood of Bombay? I've also found references to it being a beach. Maybe where Bombay's airport was located at the time?

It was resting in a box underneath a green paperback book entitled "A Pocket Guide of Delhi (with map)", compiled by C. M. Mehra, 8th edition, 1939, that is 110 pages.

I'm assuming these were souvenirs from one of my great aunt and uncle's first trips to India prior to WW2. I don't know who R.K. Ghosh is, but may have been a friend or business contact, as my great uncle was a section editor for the San Francisco Chronicle at that time.

I've also found the records of a 20-day tour of Mexico from San Francisco for a tour and cruise where another great aunt and uncle flew Pan American to Mexico City and back, with the itinerary all hand-typed on parchment paper from the summer of 1948. I might type it for a historical trip report if anyone thinks it might be an interesting read.

Thanks in advance for any help you could provide.


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RE: VT-AHB, Circa 1939-1940

Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:35 am

VT-AHB was a DeHavilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide that belonged to Tata Airlines, the predecessor of Air India.

Juhu airport was the predecessor of the current airport (and remains in use as a general aviation field). I quote from a chapter of my in-progress book about Indian aviation (which will probably never be finished at the rate I'm going!).

Commercial aviation in Mumbai started on October 15, 1932 when J.R.D. Tata flew a Puss Moth aircraft carrying mail from Karachi and landed at Juhu grass strip (VAJJ) which is located 4 kilometers away from the present Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport. The Juhu air strip was situated at the edge of the sea and was consequently unsuitable for expansion due to war requirements during the 1940s. As a result, a new location was selected in the suburb of Santa Cruz. Following the war, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took over the airport from the Air Force in 1946.
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Topic Author
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RE: VT-AHB, Circa 1939-1940

Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:12 am

Thank you so much! That points me in the right direction after some rather confusing Google searches.

I knew they'd flown the Pan Am Clipper across the Pacific, but that's all I was aware of. When I get to visit Mumbai, I'll have to make a trip out to Juhu to see this airport!

Cheers.  Smile
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RE: VT-AHB, Circa 1939-1940

Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:19 pm

Obviously Re-registered
The DGCA Website lists it as:-

Registration No. VT- AHB
Aircraft Name CESSNA CARAVAN I-208B
Manuf.Sr.No. 208B-1064
AUW 3977
Class A

Quoting AeroWesty (reply 2):
When I get to visit Mumbai, I'll have to make a trip out to Juhu to see this airport!

Juhu Aerodrome is near Juhu Beach,near Santacruz Airport.I'm presuming that the Card was from a Friend by the name of Ghosh.

Go to the Juhu Aerodrome from the Juhu side is Quicker.The Other Entrance is from the SV Road End,& the third is through Pawan Hans which is restricted.

Normally used for Private Jets/Bombay Flying club Aircraft & Pawan Hans Dophin 365s.A few IOC Mi8s too.
It houses Hangars for Bombay Flying Club,Cama Aviation, INDAMER Aviation, ONGC,DGCA Staff Housing Qtrs,Pawan Hans Hangar,Mescos Aviation.

I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
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RE: VT-AHB, Circa 1939-1940

Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:34 am

Mel, what about the reliance choppers. where are they parked?

What plane do the ambanis fly?