Mysteres are rare in the Indian Warbird scene. As of 2015, about ten Mysteres are known to be extant (about a 10% survival rate), of which three of them in and around Delhi. It should be noted that about half of the 104 Mysteres bought by the IAF would have been lost to attrition over the years.
One of the Mystere's is IA1009 that is on display in an open lot at the Rajya Sainik Board in the Tis Hazari area of New Delhi. The area is just a short distance from the Old Delhi Railway Station. The aircraft is located bang opposite the District Courts at Tis Hazari and a few meters to the east of the Metro Railway Station.
The aircraft, on display since 1988 or whreabouts, was originally fenced off with barbed wire, and had been effected by ravages of city life. The Glass panel aft of the canopy seems to have been damaged and another panel in the dorsal spine was missing when it was first photographed by Marcel de Jong in the late 90s. The condition of the aircraft didnt improve much.
An article in 2010 in Times of India, lamented the fate of this aircraft - and by all means it appeared that the bird was on its way to the scrap yard. Everyone seemed to wash their hands of maintaining the aircraft, citing expenses, or a lack of right attitude.
This photograph was one of the first to be taken of Mystere IA-1009 by Marcel de Jong. He reported this as on display in Delhi near the Delhi Old Bus stand.
|As seen in 2010 - from the Times of India Report. Note the broken nose lamp that sticks out from the engine intake.|
So it came as an incredible surprise when Dipalay Dey visited the Mystere a few days ago (September 2015) and found the aircraft completely reworked. It had received a fresh coat of paint and all the various 'open' inlets were faired over and sealed. The markings have been applied afresh , and the aircraft actually looks wonderful except for the already existing damage.
|Mystere IA1009 opposite the District Court at Tis Hazari. Note the Idiot Maruti Driver who had decided to park under the shadown of the elevator.|
|Another view of the Mystere from the rear. Everything is accurately painted - the tail number, the spacing between the letters and numbers, the size of the roundel, that we cant complain!|
Whoever worked on the aircraft, decided to fair over the open cockpit with the canopy in 'open' position. Thus the faired over section looks quite odd with the clean lines of the Mystere. The nose air inlet too has been faired over and painted - and since the inlet light is missing , the flat appearance makes the aircraft resemble a Toofani for the uninitiated.
And it appears that exactly is what happened - as the now 'new' info-board identifies the aircraft as a Dassault Ouragan!
Other than that the aircraft still carries some of the previous existing damage. The slightly tilted appearance as one of the tyres had sunk in to the foundations, the rather corrosive and damaged under surfaces of teh wings and lower fuselage etc all exist.
That said, the attention given to seal the aircraft and give it a fresh coat of paint deserves our kudos from the Indian warbird community. Who ever may have decided to refurbish its appearance, by giving it a coat of paint, by sealing off the openings and installing the info-board, please do take a bow!
|Some of the previously incurred damage still exists as can be seen from the photo on the right.|
Photos: Dipalay Dey