Kanpur's Aviation history owes much to it being a major Maintenance depot during the Second World War. Chakeri airfield near Kanpur was a Major operational airfield for the Royal Air Force during World War 2. It was the base for the 322 Care and Maintenance Unit RAF and was used to overhaul a good number of aircraft during the operations.

After Independence, Chakeri was the HQ of Maintenance Command before it shifted to Nagpur, and even today it houses the No 1 and No 4 Base Repair Depots of the Maintenance Command which deal with overhaul of transport aircraft of Russian origins.

Kanpur was the place where the IAF had salvaged more than 40 B-24 Liberator bombers in the early fifties. These bombers were flying well into the seventies and it is possible a good number of wrecks and relics exist with the BRDs in Kanpur.

What is not commonly known was that Kanpur was the place for an unofficial Air Force Museum till the establishment of the official museum at Palam. For several years, follChakeri was the graveyard that provided several warbirds over the years. There were several Tempests lying in the place till the late 60s. On the request of the RAF Museum, a pair of Tempest II wings and an engine were shipped to UK after salvage from one aircraft from the yard.

Today, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has a production facility in Kanpur. This was used to manufacture the HS 748 Transport and later the HPT-32 Deepak Trainer.

Aircraft at IIT Kanpur. A Piper Cub [VT-DTP] along with a Alarus CH2000 aircraft and a Blanik L-23 glider at the IIT Kanpur aerodrome. Pic Courtesy : K S PrashanthClick to Enlarge

Kanpur is also home to the Indian Institute of Technology , where the aeronautical department maintains an aircraft and glider fleet. These are covered in detail by accessing the links on the left.

Group Captain Kapil Bhargava in an earlier correspondence indicated that the prototype IAF Kanpur II aircraft which was designed and built by Air Vice Marshal Harjinder Singh in 1961 would be with the Aero department of IIT Kanpur. The aircraft can be seen in detail by accessing the link on the left.

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Two views of Piper Super Cub VT-DTP, one of the oldest airworthy aircraft with the IIT at Kanpur. This aircraft has been on the civilian register for nearly forty years.

IIT Kanpur, as with the other older IITs in India is one of the premier technology training institutions in this part of the world. The Institution has a full fledged Department of Aerospace Engineering [http://www.iitk.ac.in/aero/] under Prof Kunal Ghosh.

The department specializes in aerodynamics, flight mechanics, propulsion, and aerospace structures. It has a unique flight laboratory with four powered aircrafts, four gliders and a 1000 m runway. All other academic institutions in the country make use of this facility.

This department was inaugurated in 1964. The first aircraft procured by the department was a Piper Super Cub VT-DTP in 1965, followed by a Cessna 182H VT-DUM in 1967.

Somewhere along the line, it is not known as to which year, the Department was gifted the IAF Kanpur II aircraft by the Indian Air Force. It is believed that the Kanpur was given to the Department by AVM Harjinder Singh himself. That is one of the oldest aircraft in thier possession.

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