WDY Awards

Messerchmitt Bf-109 at Gulbarga

Click to Enlarge Seeing is believing! The unmistakable Nazi Cross on tail and the black cross on the fuselage shows the lineage of this aircraft, a Messerchmitt 109E which was found in Gulbarga, Karnataka. Photo: A A Laxman

Wait! did i read that right? Did it say "Messerchmitt"? MESSERCHMITT? As in WW2- German , As in Dr. Willi MESSERCHMITT? Is that a Swastika that I am seeing in that photo? My God! It is!

One of the unofficial features of the site was what I termed as a "Warbird discovery of the year" award. This was basically to signify the discovery of a hitherto unreported vintage aircraft of importance. In the year 2001, the ‘Award’ went to a gentleman who reported the derelict airframe of a Percival Prentice in Chennai. The Prentice was the only known example still surviving in India outside the Indian Air Force Museum. For the year 2002, I had only one nomination going on , A Firefly was reported to be on its way to restoration and display at INS Hansa in Goa. The decision was almost taken to appoint the Firefly as the ‘Warbird discovery of the year’ when one fine day in May, I received an email from Laxman Anataramu.

De Havilland Vampire F.3 HB-546
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De Havilland Vampire F.3 VT-CXJ/HB-546 in the unique 'Chakra' markings with the Battle Axe emblem on the nose (left), and how it was before when it sported the anonymous 'T-27' serial.

The moment we identified the De Havilland Vampire at AFTC Jalahalli as a rare Mark III with a unique history, we had found our Warbird Discovery of the Year 2005 without a second thought. More so because Warbirds of India was directly involved in 'discovering' its lost identity.

The IAF Kanpur I and Kanpur II
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The Kanpur 1 (Left) at Chandigarh and the Kanpur II (Right) at IIT Kanpur.

The Warbird Discovery of the Year 2004 label, for the first time, is given to two aircraft instead of one. The aircraft though two in number, have the same lineage and almost similar history. They are the IAF Kanpur 1 at Chandigarh and the IAF Kanpur II with IIT Kanpur.

Both aircraft have been designed by late Air Vice Marshal Arjan Singh - and both carried an IAF serial number.

Supermarine Spitfire VIII MV-459 at Ambala
Click to Enter the Special FeatureThe Restored Supermarine Spitfire LF VIII MV-459 on display at Ambala air force station

The Warbird Discovery of the Year 2003 goes without doubt to the wreckage dug out of the Markanda riverbed in Haryana. When the reports of the recovery of the wreckage were first surfaced in February and March, We at Warbirds of India merely thought that this aircraft remains would be soon consigned to the dustbin / local scrap dealer - We are happy to say we have been proved wrong!. Click on the picture above to read more in detail

Percival Prentice

"There's a wrecked HPT-32 at Chennai" was the message that Vijay Reddy once sent me. He went on to write that the HPT-32, probably got wrecked sometime back and was bought here and dumped. We would not have given a second glance if the pictures of the wrecked HPT-32 were sent, but when Vijay sent in the actual pictures, we stood up and listened!

Click to EnlargeDumped among the shrubs and creepers the classic lines of the Percival Prentice can only be just made out. The aircraft has severe damage to the control surfaces including the Ailerons and Elevators.  Pic Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy

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