Coimbatore is a major town and district in the eastern part of Tamil Nadu. It adjoins the border with Kerala and is an important place as far as Air Force installations in Tamil Nadu are concerned. The Air Force Administrative College, No.5 Base Repair Depot, Air Force Station Sulur are all located in and around Coimbatore.
What is not known widely was that Coimbatore once had a Spitfire VIII as a gate guardian in the air force premises. The Initial Training Wing was located in Coimbatore in the late 40s, after it moved to here from Poona. The ITW was responsible for initial basic training to IAF flight cadets. The Spitfire was preserved on the premises to motivate the flight cadets, and going by the number of photographs it has appeared in, it has done its job well. However the final fate of the aircraft is a mystery, and it is believed to have been scrapped in the 50s.
|A Harvard is preserved near the entrance of Sainik School, Amaravathinagar in Coimbatore District. The Pic was contributed by Manoj Nair|
There is a Sainik School at Amaravathi nagar which is in the Coimbatore district. The School has a Harvard preserved on its premises. This is at near the entrance of the School. Manoj, who sent the photograph had taken it in 1987. The aircraft may still be there as it was in a good condition.
There are two airstrips commissioned during World War 2, Peelamedu and Sulur, Both providing facilities for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm Squadrons flying aircraft as diverse as the Barracuda, Hellcats, Hurricanes and Seafires. Peelamedu was decommissioned in 1946 along with Sulur. Today it acts as the Civlian airport of Coimbatore.
After Independence, The Indian Navy established INAS Hansa at Sulur to operate the Sea Hawks. After the Liberation of Goa, INAS Hansa shifted to Dabolim there and Sulur was taken over by the Air Force . No. 5 Base Repair Depot was established which was under the Maintenance Command. 5 BRD operated aircraft maintenance and provided test flying facilities too. It is believed that there are a good number of retired aircraft at 5 BRD. In the late eighties some Canberra and Dakota airframes were auctioned off as scrap at Sulur. No details are available.
Sulur had a fair share of crashes in its area. One of the B-24 Liberators put into the air by HAL crashed here in the 50s. In the eighties some trainer aircraft operating out of Sulur had crashed on test flights. Kapil Chandni reports that a "large aircraft" was reportedly on display outside the BRD at Sulur. guesses on the type have ranged from B-24 Liberators (wishful thinking) to C-47 Dakota. A Senior IAF Officer had confirmed that a few Dakotas could still be available stored at the BRD in Sulur.
|HAL HT-2||-NA-||Air Force Administrative College|
|NA Harvard||-NA-||Sainik School Amaravathi nagar|