Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Briefing Room

From L to R: Shivadas, P Singh , Velankar(dad) ,Dhillon & Shankar.
Cir:1967 , 101 Squadron

This is a great picture. Not only does it capture a part of their daily work life, but also pictures like these actually show that the usual snaps that we see of the planes making a loop in the sky are a result of (hopefully) hours of planing and dedication.

Dad was in the 101 fighter squadron from the 24th Dec 1966 to 31st May 1968. So this picture has probably been taken in 1967 in the briefing room. The nickname of 101 Sqn was "Falcon" and the Motto was "Anwishyawedhi" which means "Search and destroy".The Sqn was raised on 1st May 1949 and had spitfires in it. But by the time dad made his way out there, they were operating Vampires. Today 101 has Mig 21's as their mounts.

During the early years of the IAF, Photo-recce (PR) was an urgent need and the originl spitfires of the 101 sqn were used for this purpose, but later on the the Vampires in 101 were used for the the same purpose. This article on the Bharatrakshak website gives an excellent recounting of the history of PR in the IAF, but it concentrates more on the Canberras. As per the article,

" ... There were some attempts to give PR capability a boost beyond the piston engine Spitfires, and HAL converted at least 5 Vampire T.55s with cameras in the nose, dubbing them Vampire PR 55s. These Vampires operated with 101 Sqn (which was raised from 1 PR Flight) and 108 Sqn. The Vampires did give a limited PR capability but obviously something better was required..."

There is a great deal of material available on the net about the Vampires. The vampire was an astonishingly popular plane and the first choice of replacement for spitfires all over the world. As a result about fifty airforces around the world used these planes to great effect. Of all these airforces, the story of the Vampires in the Rodhesian Airforce is very interesting and worth a read. You can find it here.

That apart, the picture itself does provide us some interesting information. On the right background, you see the VINTEN F95 poster. These were the make of the camera that were fitted in the Vampires. I could not find a website for these camera, but there is mention of Vinten Camera's being fitted on the the planes like Hawk as recently as the mid 1980's.

On the Blackboard, you can spot the two formation color for that day: The Ivory, and the two planes that would be flying, Nos 416, & 315, sadly the bit of glare is spoiling the name of the pilots that would be lflying that day, but those guys surely seem to be in the spirit of that days mission. : PHOTO


Dave said...

I was quite surprised to come across a blog site such as yours. My father was a pilot in the RAF and later in the IAF in and around 1943. I have a few photos but my father speaks little about his experiences in the air force. Would you like these photos? I wish I knew more and have tried to research more about his enlistment but have been unsuccessful.. Congrats on your site!

Velu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dupa Jasia said...

.. .. ...

Anonymous said...

Awestome website, Velu- great to see those pics.

Vinten pods are still in service, the brand, in one form or the other still exists and is going strong. We bought another bunch of them recently for our MiG-27s and Jaguars as recent as a couple of years back.


Gussa Waala said...

A small world it is. My Dad was in 101 in 1971.

Fl├╝ge Buenos Aires said...

Really amazing, awesome and unique blog! It´s very interesting to see all the stuff documented stuff. Thanks for and congrats to your blog!

Nikhil said...

Hey Velu,
My dad knows yours. My dad is 6th entry batch of AFAC. Cir: 1965. I have thousands of pics of my dad and his colleagues... It would take me ages to scan them.
We should exchange numbers. My dad would love to speak to yours.

muthu said...

interesting read.... :)