Early Aviation Monoplane In Calcutta, 2 Old Photos 1913.

Three rare 1913 photographs show an early aviation monoplane in Calcutta (now Kolkata). A handwritten text reads “French Aviators In Calcutta.” The text on the 2nd photo reads “Scene in grandstand during visit of French aviators”. The photos were presumed to be taken by a Britisher.

The images, although a little blurry, convey an invaluable glimpse into India’s little-known early aviation. The outline of the aircraft shown in the center of the field matches with a French-made Bleriot XI monoplane. Which was built in France in 1909. A newspaper article refers to two Frenchmen who took flights in their Bleriot XI aircraft in Calcutta in 1910. The aviators were brothers Jules and Jean Tyck.

In 1910 the flight took off from the Tollygunge Club’s vast 100-acre ground. The aircraft was shipped from England to Bombay by sea, then transported to Calcutta by rail. It is almost certain that this is the same Bleriot XI, shown in this 1913 photo, which was flown by the French aviator brothers in 1910. Apparently from the same Tollygunge Clubs’ grounds.

A massive turnout of crowds is vaguely visible in the background, and the gallery (grandstand) seems to be packed with Europeans. Nascent aviation in India (and the world) naturally drew huge excitement and crowds. Karachi, Peshawar, Allahabad, Sitapur, and Madras were a few of the places known to have flown either monoplanes or biplanes in the British India era. The first successful flight achieved was in the USA by the Wright brothers in 1903. Click on the photo for better view.

To see a vintage Bleriot go to A Daring Flight.

Did you know – Kolkata airport was founded years later and the first plane — the Royal Air Force around the-world flight — landed there in 1924. 

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.

Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

5½ x 4 inch

Photographer -

unknown Britisher