February 22, 2024
Cochin has a long history of aviation

INAS Garuda, Cochin

The first aircraft one runs into at Goa is a beautifully maintained Alize at the main gate. IN-204 looks good and is chained off. But nothing more is known as to when it was put up for display here. Inside the airfield there are a number of derelict and withdrawn from use airframes lying around. There is a Seahawk which is in a derelict state whose future outlook doesnot look promising.

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This unidentified Sea Hawk is in a derelict condition at the airbase. Minus its cockpit Canopy and with a highly corroded fuselage, its future seems bleak. Pic by: Kapil Chandni

There are two more helicopters that were seen around in Cochin. One is a Seaking IN-509, one of the first batch of Seakings inducted in the Navy way back in 1971. This batch has run out of its flying hours and many of them have found thier ways to museums like the INS Vikrant, Goa Museum and the HAL Bangalore Museum. This is the fifth aircraft that is known to have survived.

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Another short life airframe is this dilapidated Chetak fuselage minus its engine, rotors and doors. No clue as its actual identity. Pic by: Kapil Chandni (Left) & Sanjay Simha (Right)

There is a derelict Chetak airframe without any visible serial number. All usable parts seems to have been removed from the helicopter. The engines, the main and tail rotors and the doors.

Click to Enlarge One of the aircraft that dots the airfield is this Seaking helicopter IN-509. Withdrawn from use after completion of its flying hours, its batch mates can be seen at the Vikrant, Goa and Bangalore museums. Pic by: Kapil Chandni
Another Seaking, with a very obvious short lifespan is IN-525. The aircraft had to ditch in sea in March 2003, and was fished out of the water in a couple of days. The W indicates it was once on the INS Viraat. . Pic by: Sanjay Simha Click to Enlarge

The saddest part of the trip is that no one in INAS Garuda seems to have a clue on the Corsair wreckage that was fished out of the sea some time back. Enquiries by this correspondent to find out about it had bought up blank responses.

[Report by Kapil Chandni]

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