To, fulfilling the role of being a center for technical training in Aviation for the Navy, a A Naval Air Technical Services Center was set up in Kochi at around 1958. This was later renamed to the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology in the eighties. The NIAT is to the Naval Aviation, what AFTC Jallahali is to the airforce. Over the years, the Indian Navy’s technical officers and men graduated out of its portals.
While getting to know about the real id of the Alize was certainly a find for us, the bigger scoop is the revelation about the existence of a Hughes Hu-263 two seater chopper at the NIAT. Prior to this it was believed only the example in the Naval Museum in Goa was the sole survivor. The emergence of IN-086 is a pleasant surprise.
|Hughes Hu-263a IN-086 is the secnod such type in preservation by the navy. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
|This view from the rear of IN-086 shows the slim tail boom of this little two seater. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
IN-086 must have been used for ab-initio helicopter training in the 60s before it was pensioned off along with the other chopper. However it is not the only helicopter here. The tail-less fuselage of Chetak IN-406 is the other. This Chetak is consists only of the main fuselage cabin. The whole tailboom and tail rotor assembly is missing. The main rotors too have been cut down to four foot stumps to accomodate the chopper in the Hangar. No history is known of this aircraft.
|The Chetak IN-406 as seen at NIAT. The aircraft tail boom and rotor assembly is not present. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
|The Kamov Co-Axial rotor shaft and gear box demonstration set up. Pic by: Sandeep Unnithan
Several other aircraft components are present through out the NIAT for instructional purposes. One such component is the gearbox and rotor shaft from a Kamov helicopter. The gear bos was cut away at key areas to show the innards. Though it is speculated that this came off a crashed Kamov, we do not have any confirmation on that.
|Fuselage – No tail section or full rotors
[Photos by Sandeep Unnithan ]