A rare event with the Lions : Chick Paralkar

For a while in early 1974, while in the process of converting to Maruts, the Lions held three types on their inventory;    a Hunter trainer – allotted for the purpose of maintaining some flying continuity during a period when Mysteres were grounded – Mysteres and the newly inducted Maruts.

Chick sent us this account and Sudhir Batra was able to produce the photograph:

“On 12th Jun 74 , I remember we had created history of sorts when our Sqn, which  had 3 different types of aircraft on strength—Mystere , Hunter Mk 66E and Marut- carried out a close formation sortie with these aircraft. incidentally I did  a pair take off ,  with me and S/L Johri in a Hunter trainer, and Wg Cdr Bhadkamkar in a Mystere. I remember I had to literally throttle back during the pair T/O to avoid overshooting Buddy sir.  Kammy sir was the last to take off in a Marut. After join up and settling down we carried out close formation and the whole sortie was filmed by then Wg Cdr Dushyant Singh, who had flown from Agra in his Canberra to photograph the historic event!!”

From Sudhir's Album

(Please click the photograph to enlarge)

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18 Responses to A rare event with the Lions : Chick Paralkar

  1. Dara says:

    For some unknown reason another comment by Chick seems to have got lost in the ether- so here it is from my email:

    “Cant be me he was referring to!!!! attached please find a photo of me taken in AF Stn Hindon. NO, ITS NOT TOM CRUISE !!!!!”

    • Dara says:

      Well Chick, ummmm….errr… what do I say?

      Lets look at this way:

      The good just has to be Buddy sir, the perfect gentleman always, then and now.

      Then maybe we can agree that the ugly is not Chick, even without his photograph to jog our memory.

      Then, wellll………..I think lets leave it at that 🙂

  2. Sudhir Batra says:

    Incidently, when the photograph came from Agra showing the formation. Kamat commented Good Bad and Ugly.

    Now do not start another discussion on this.

    Just enjoy.

  3. Dara says:

    Dear Kapil Sir, Sudhir and Chick,

    Thank you all, for us eventually getting the record straight. It wouldn’t have happened if Groupie hadn’t set the ball rolling.

    Chick, I am taking the liberty of now amending the date on the email on the front page.

    And a wonderful time was had by all! 🙂

    Dara

  4. Dear Friends,

    I have awarded myself a well-deserved Severe Reprimand on this issue.

    All this time I was under the impression that the formation being talked about was flown out of Jodhpur. This was quite unlikely without my knowledge. The penny has just dropped. And thankfully, I now know that I am not suffering from the initial symptoms of dementia.

    However, like the slip of the tongue, I had a slip of the brain. I just assumed that the event was placed in Jodhpur. This was despite one of my commanders warning me never to assume anything but always to find out before acting or speaking out. If the formation flight of three different types took place out of Hindon, I naturally would not know anything about it anyway. Please cancel all my inputs on this item.

    I should now devote my time to recording a history of design errors of the HF-24, starting from its mock-up days. I know a bit more about these and their effect on the operation of the aircraft in service than about formation flights in Hindon. Let us hope this gets written soon, for the flight testing community to tear it to pieces and the operators to curse it for poor performance.

    With best wishes,
    Kapil Bhargava

    • Dara says:

      Sir, if the recent dialogue here has been responsible for getting you to take up a new assignment on writing about the HF 24 design, it is definitely a silver lining.

      Please do remember that we gave you the impetus and deserve first viewing rights!

      Wishing you all the best in that venture too.

      Dara

  5. Dear Friends, I suspect my memory is not too bad, after all. Hunter trainers, perhaps one each in No. 10 and 220, were well in evidence at Jodhpur when I assumed command of 32 Wing in January 1973. But all my sorties on the Hunter 66 were with No. 10, so I am not sure if 220 had one or just shared flying No. 10’s aircraft without owning it.

    I had an exactly two full years’ stint in Jodhpur covering 1973 and 1974. To the best of my memory, No. 31 Squadron did not arrive in Jodhpur till after I left for NDC in late December 1974.

    At the time of handling over charge of 32 Wing, I still had three airfields – Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Utarlai. I also had three squadrons 10, 220 and 29, one Krishak Air OP flight and the HU 104, commanded by Lara Dutta’s dad, LK. We also had Sqn Ldr KS Bindra with Chetaks in 1973 but I am not sure if it was the HTS or what. Frankly it was quite a handful.

    Having joined NDC Course No 15 in Jan 75, I suspect that the date of the interesting formation flight was after end=December 1974. Otherwise, I would have remembered the interesting event fairly clearly. The only other explanation is the likely onset of dementia in my brain.

    I will now fervently pray that Sudhir is wrong in his dates, or else I had better run to the ECHS in a hurry for a brain transplant.

    Only the logbook of one of the participants can settle this to my satisfaction. For another test of selective memory, please see a brief comment on Brother Bhargava’s tale. I hope to have it in place very shortly.

    Incidentally, I cleared the view from the rear cockpit of the HF-24 Trainer around September 1970 as OC A&ATU. I can check out the exact date easily if needed. But i have at least three sorties still checking pressure error corrections on this type till 1972. Hence, I do not know the date these reached Jodhpur.

    With best wishes
    Kapil Bhargava

    • Dara says:

      Dear Sir,

      Your memory is as good as it always was – all the almonds certainly help!

      The only reason you don’t remember this event is because it was prior to the move of the Lions from Hindon to Jodhpur. This formation was while the unit was still in Hindon.

      I am quite sure of this. However, I wish my memory was as good as yours. It isn’t, so I could well be wrong!

      I have asked Chick Paralkar who was in the Hunter trainer to clarify and confirm.

      With best wishes and warm regards,

      Dara

      • Sudhir Batra says:

        Dara

        You are right that formation took off from Hindon.

        31 sqn moved from Pathankot to Hindon and subsequently, it was decided to re-equip with Maruts and to be based at Hindon. I, along with Kamat, KP and others, was posted to 31 (at Hindon) as opl pilots and rest from Mysteres were to be converted. These were Bhadi sir, Vishnu Johri, Vikram Petia and few Flt Lt and Fg Offr.List is long but few are AK Singh, RA Kumar, Byross, Tonky Dass etc etc.
        When Mysteres were being prepared to be despatched to Kanpur for storage and TTF at Jamnagar, crew room talk suggested to Boss Bhadi to do a fly past with three aircraft. He agreed and to get a photographic evidence, he requested canberra PR Sqn to take some photos.
        31 moved to 32 Wg Jodhpur later as HAL could not maintain two support offices at Jodhpur and Hindon. Also, Dunlop had a interest in Marut. Kishore (Younger brother of Prakash) could not provide service at both places ie Jodhpur and Hindon.

  6. Jagan says:

    This is indeed a rare event – the photograph is priceless!

  7. Dara says:

    Sudhir the date has been given by Chick, in an email, from which I have quoted. I presume he has checked his log book. Will request Chick to throw some light on it.

    As regards the Hunter trainer, as far as I remember I think the aircraft was allotted much before the Maruts were inducted. However, I am relying totally on memory when I say this and you could well be correct. Your memory of events appears clearer than mine.

    Dara

    • Sudhir Batra says:

      The date of ferry of Hunter from \Kanpur is as per my log book. The aircraft number are also from log book. You could be technically right that Hunter trainers were allotted before Marut came. The first batch of Marut was brought in last week of April. I was in Bangalore along with few other. We carried out acceptance check on three to four aircraft and then ferried them via pune, jodhpur. There was a thought of bringing them via Nagpur but rejected due to no diversion available close to Nagpur. The trained sqn airmen were not available and 30 % were away to Jodhpur to do MCF and rest were busy preparing Mysteres for routing out.

  8. Sudhir Batra says:

    Dear Dara

    May I correct some information.

    Hunter T66 E were allotted to Marut Sqns as trainer since Marut did not have trainer at that time. I agree with Gp Capt Bhargava that date of formation flying could not be Jan 1974. I was posted to 31 Sqn from 220 on 4th Mar 1974. We picked up two trainers S-1391 & S-1393 from Kanpur BRD in first week of Aprl. Boss and self ferried the S-1391 on 2 Apr. I do not remember who ferried the other aircraft. We started picking up Maruts from Bangalore in last week of April.

    It was in this period ie last week of April 74 and May 74 the sqn had three types of aircraft ie Mystere, Marut and Hunter trainer. I think, it was this period that formation took place. I was not part of the formation. Mysteres were being made ready to ferry them to Kanpur for storage and to ATW-Target Towing Flt. Technical men had to be sent to Jodhpur for training on Marut maint and procedures.

    I had requested the Canberra sqn to send me an extra photograph and got one.

    Sudhir

  9. Dear Sudhir, Please recheck the date of you formation flight.The date of January 1974 militates against my memory. I wonder of it was in fact 1975, one year later than you have pinpointed it. A confirmation from your logbook will clear up my confusion.

    With thanks for the photograph and best wishes,
    Kapil Bhargava

    • I am sorry for creating a lot of confusion by writing a wrong date of the historic formation. If you read my email I began by saying that I was posted to 31 Sqn in Apr 74. I had wrongly written 12 Jan 74 instead of 12 Jun 74. I am attaching my log book entry for authentication.Sorry for creating a controversy!!!!

      Best Regards,
      Chick

      Click below to see log book:

  10. Brother Bhargava says:

    SPLENDID

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