February 29, 2024
In April 2016, The IAF moved a Dakota aircraft that was on display in Belgaum all the way to Yelahanka and erected it right behind the main gate/guard room.
This derelict fuselage of a Devon is found at the MT section at Yelahanka airbase. Pic Courtesy : Simon Watson

To the north of Bangalore, on the Hyderabad highway is the Air Force Station at Yelahanka. Yelahanka had a long history dating back to the Second World War, when a number of Spitfires, Mosquitos and other aircraft were based there.

After Independence, the airfield came under the purview of Training Command which soon established the No.2 Transport Training Wing to provide training on Dakotas. Over the years, the No.2TTW was merged with No.1 TTW at Begumpet and a single Transport Training Wing was established here. The airfield was briefly renamed the Air Lift Forces Training Establishment but reverted back to AFS Yelahanka in a short while.

Today the airfield operates An-32s, HS748s, Do228s as part of TTW. It also plays host to No.112 Helicopter Unit and its Mi-8s which are used for Helicopter training.

In the early 2000s, a derelict fuselage of a Devon can be found in the MT Area in the Yelahanka airbase. The serial number of the Devon is quite faded but it is believed to be HW-204. The fuselage is in pretty bad condition as can be seen from the photograph. This is the third Devon airframe in Bangalore area.

However its recent status is not known. An Iskra was installed at Yelahanka as a aircrew memorial in 2005. The airfield also has an An-32 fuselage that is rigged as a cockpit procedures trainer. The identity of this An-32 is not known.

A surprise discovery at Yelahanka came up in 2005 when Google Earth released high resolution imagery of the airfield. It appeared that there was a Douglas DC-3 preserved at the airfield – and this was unknown even to the Air Force authorities. A quick check revealed that the DC-3 was not in the airfield but at an adjacent BSF training facility, whose perimeter at one point juts deep into the AFS Yelahankas area.

2014 Update: The mystery of the Devon fuselage and identity was solved in a discussion on Facebook. Anandeep Pannu confirms that there was a Devon that belonged to the Training Command Communication Flight with tail number HW204. The aircraft was rarely flown in the eighties. Anandeep recollected his father, then Gp Capt H M P S Pannu used to fly this aircraft:

I was looking through my father’s logbooks and he had a good deal of time flying Devon HW204 of the Trg Cmd Comm Flight putting in 20 hours from Oct 1981 to March 1982. He was able to use it as a personal aircraft because no one wanted to fly the Devon, since it had garnered a reputation of being hard to fly single engine. Sure enough it was crashed after a engine failed on downwind. The person flying it was a fighter guy without multi-engine experience and he lost control on final wrecking the aircraft. I remember my father was quite put off because he lost his personal executive aircraft!

It appears a strong possibility that the fuselage is HW204. Phil Camp, who had originally seen and photographed the wreck confirmed that the fuselage had the Training Command badge on the nose.

That said, the current fate of the Devon fuselage appears to be bleak. The fuselage has not been seen in years and most likely was scrapped. Training Command may have lost an opportunity to preserve a valuable artifact for their future museum. 

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