September 29, 2022

A derelict Harvard is lying around in one of the government establishments in Chennai. The aircraft though in pretty bad shape, is still a good candidate for restoration, as the entire fuselage, engine mountings, main wing spars seem to be in good condition. Since we have record of only four Harvards (At that time in 2001!) in the country, the news of a fifth airframe makes a very welcome addition to our listings.

A derelict Harvard is lying around in one of the government establishments in Chennai. The aircraft though in pretty bad shape, is still a good candidate for restoration, as the entire fuselage, engine mountings, main wing spars seem to be in good condition. Since we have record of only four Harvards in the country, the news of a fifth airframe makes a very welcome addition to our listings.

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The discovery of this derelict Harvard in Chennai boosts the known Harvard population in India to five. The RAF style Roundels can just be made out in the picture on the right, as is the fin flash on the tail fin. Pic Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy

The aircraft does not have the rudder and elevator control surfaces. Nor does it has wings beyond the main spar. But the entire fuselage, main spar, undercarriage oleos and engine mounting is present along with the cockpit windscreen and canopy framework. Most of the aluminum skin is missing exposing the frame construction underneath.

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These pictures give some idea on the condition of the front portion of the airframe. The Engine is not present, but the Mounting frame can be clearly seen in the right picture as are the undercarraige oleos. The Wheels are missing presumably taken away by souvenir hunters. Pic Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy

The most interesting fact about this derelict is that it seemed to have been one used directly by the erstwhile RAF or the RIAF of World War 2. For below the corrosion and years of wear, one can still make out the faint Blue-Red Roundels of the Royal Air Force / Pre-Independence Indian Air Force. The tail fin also carries traces of the fin flash carried by allied aircraft of pre Independence Era.

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The port side of the aircraft reveals the same condition as the starboard side reveals. though the roundels are not so prominent in this side of the pictures, the condition of the Wing Main spar can be seen in the picture on the left. Pic Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy

The only clue to the aircraft identity comes thru one of the identification plates carried on the aircraft. The plate is by Noordyn Aviation of Montreal Canada, which makes this aircraft one of the Harvard variants built in Canada and known as CCS Harvards. The aircraft is in amazingly good condition inspite of the ravages of weather and souvenir hunters. many components/parts can still be found on the aircraft.

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A close up of the Identification plate as seen in the center of the left picture, gives some clues on the ancestory of this derelict Harvard. Pic Courtesy : Vijay Simha Reddy

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