February 29, 2024

Daulet Beg Oldi is the northern most "Landing Ground" in the area of Ladakh. It has been a center of aviation activity in the 60s for supply dropping. An Mi-4 stands guard today at the landing ground.

Daulat Beg Oldi (also Oldie, DBO), Ladakh, state of Jammu & Kashmir, India is a historic camp site and current military base located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Uyghuristan. The Chip Chap River flows just to the south of Daulat Beg Oldi from east to west. Daulat Beg Oldie also has an airstrip at an altitude of 5065 meters (16614 feet), and is the world’s highest airstrip.

The base was established during the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962, with the first landing done in a C-119. It was operated with American-supplied Fairchild Packets from 1962 to 1966, when it had to be closed down suddenly when an earthquake caused loosening of the surface soil, making the area unsuitable for fixed-wing aircraft. Work was undertaken to make the airfield operational again, and was marked on 31 May 2008, when an Indian Air Force An-32 landed. In 2013, a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft landed Daulat Beg Oldie on 20 August.

DBO was mostly used by helicopters over the years, and marking their presence is the derelict fuselage of an Mi-4 helicopter at one end of the Runway. This helicopter was damaged at DBO during a paradrop of suplies sometime in the 60s. The wrecked helicopter was left at the airfield instead of being salvaged. Over the years, the fuselage was used as makeshift Cafeteria, serving hot tea and coffee to the airfield occupants.

The wheels are gone, the tailboom and nosecone is missing. But the massive Radial engine still in place, and the faded paint scorched in the cold winter sun, the derelict Mi-4 still stands guard at DBO. Pic Copyright :Grasshopper

A photograph of the fuselage at DBO was taken by user Grasshopper on Panaramio in October 2005. This is the only photograph of the derelict that is available till now.

Panoramio Photograph by Grasshopper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *