September 30, 2022

The Gnat at the Madras Institute of Technology was more of a 'myth' than a reality for us. We had heard many stories and rumours of its existance but it was no where to be seen. When the Sea Hawk IN-252 turned up, it was speculated that it was probably the Seahawk that was misreported as a Gnat.

Seahawk IN-252 and Gnat IE-1248 at the Madras Institute of Technolgy. Pic Courtesy : B Harry

The Gnat at the Madras Institute of Technology was more of a ‘myth’ than a reality for us. We had heard many stories and rumours of its existance but it was no where to be seen. When the Sea Hawk IN-252 turned up, it was speculated that it was probably the Seahawk that was misreported as a Gnat. It turns out that we were wrong.

The MIT has recently bought out its Gnat from the hiding and have displayed it proudly besides its Seahawk. The serial number IE-1248 of the Gnat indicates that this was probably one of the first HAL built aircraft.

Gnat IE-1248 at first glance appears to be slightly better off. Pic Courtesy : B Harry

At first glance, the condition of the aircraft appears to be bad. one of the panels on the spine was missing. The rear port elevator is almost knocked loose of its hinge and was hanging out rather ignominously about to fall off. However it is assumed that this was probably the results of many years of storage. There could be plans to clean up , repaint and repair the external appearance of the aircraft.

But it is clear from this picture that some panels are missing. The Control surfaces are also in need for repair. Pic Courtesy : B Harry Click to Enlarge

IE-1248 features the ensignia of No.2 Squadron. A Winged arrow adorns the forward fuselage just below the canopy. This is much in standard with most of the other preserved Gnats around the country. A majority of them featuring No.2’s emblem.

The emblem of No.2 Squadron on the nose of Gnat IE-1248 is evident here. As is the ‘White Tiger’ embelm on the Sea Hawk. Pic Courtesy : B Harry Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge A frontal view of the Gnat. Note the single pylong attachments under the wing. Pic Courtesy : B Harry

The oleo of the nosewheel appears to have ‘sunk’ according to the pictures. The result of many years of storage..no doubt. No Ejection seat is visible in the cockpit, but the pictures are not too clear to confirm this.

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