Viceroy’s Flight From Delhi To Calcutta, 1934 Print.
An unusual old newspaper clip of Viceroy Lord Willingdon flying from Delhi to Calcutta in 1934. It gives a fascinating insight into early Indian aviation. The aircraft apparently landed on the vast grounds of the Calcutta Maidan (or Esplanade) in 1934. Airliners were then mostly designed to land on level ground or on water bodies (flying boats).
The reason was that aerodromes were not much developed, it was just landing strips or nonexistent at all. That’s why an almost equal number of flying boats also operated. Because it could land even on small inland water bodies. The viceroy’s aircraft, its wings partially visible in the picture, was the Avro-642. It was British-made and only two were built one with two-engine and the other with four-engine.
The four-engine model was ordered for Viceroy Lord Willingdon as his official aircraft. Named the “star of India”, it was operated and maintained by the Indian National Airways, when not in use by Viceroy Lord Willingdon. Another interesting observation mentioned is “The decision of the viceroy to travel by aeroplane instead of using the State train meant a great saving of government money.” Which perhaps may be an unlikely proposition today. But nevertheless, India did have active early stages of aviation spanning from 1910 to the 1940s. Click on the photo for better view.
Did you know – the viceroy’s Avro 642 did not perform well and became a little too risky to operate, unlike the two-engine model which was believed to be safer. Thus by 1937, the Royal Air Force grounded the Star of India and dismantled it in 1940 in Delhi.
From the collection – Vintage Raja Ravi Varma “Shivaji” Oleograph Print., Viceroy’s House Delhi British India, Panoramic Photo 1930., Fishing Boats At Chowpatty Bombay, 1900 Postcard., Central Province Railway or Shakuntala Railway – Old Photo.