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SANDS OF TIME

                                                    TATA CENTRAL ARCHIVES NEWSLETTER

                                                                                                  VOL. XIV, ISSUE 2, 2017

             THE EXHILARATION OF FLYING

Flying was a very tangible freedom. In those days, it was beauty, adventure, discovery — the
epitome of breaking into new worlds. To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love

           aviation, the sky is home. Can the magic of ight ever be expressed in words?

On the 85th anniversary of the birth of air transport in India, on October 15, 2017, Tata Central
   Archives attempts to bring to its readers the nostalgic events that transpired over the years.

OPENING UP THE SKIES OF INDIA:                                                      from Karachi to Bombay and on to

                                                                                    South India and Colombo.

October 15, 1932 was a glorious day                                                 Vintcent met JRD Tata in 1929,

that went down in Indian history                                                    within about four weeks of JRD's

with JRD Tata launching the rst air                                                 getting his ying license he shared

mail service in a Puss Moth from                                                    this idea with him, who supported

Karachi (formerly a part of India) –                                                the venture.

Ahmedabad – Bombay (now

Mumbai) and marking the birth of                                                    When Vintcent's proposal was

air transport in the country.                                                       presented to Tatas in 1929, they

                                                                                    were recovering from the

Decades before the mud ats of                                                       downswings of the 1920s.

Juhu, a shing village and a beach                                                   Furthermore, the Chairman,

resort in Bombay, were in the news                                                  Sir Dorabji Tata, was past his prime

for palatial housing, it created                                                    and was not likely to respond. It was

history with the landing of India's                                                 John Peterson, JRD's mentor and the

 rst air mail service.                JRD Tata holding a model of the Puss Moth at  General Manager of the Tata Steel
JRD conceived the idea of India's         his ofce in Bombay House in Bombay.      Works, who persuaded Sir Dorab,
                                                                                    “Let the young man do it. It doesn't

rst air mail service with South                                                     cost much.” The initial investment

African, Nevill Vintcent, another ying enthusiast. When         needed was only Rs. 2 lakhs. Eventually, Sir Dorab agreed.

Nevill Vintcent heard that Imperial Airways were planning

an air service from London to Karachi in April 1929, which The rst letter to Sir BN Mitra, Member, Department for

would also carry mail, he realised that Peninsular India        Industries, Government of India, was written by John

would be left out. So even before the Imperial service          Peterson as early as March 20, 1929 exploring the

could commence, he worked out a proposal for a ight             government's interest in supporting the development of

                                                                aviation in India “for military reasons, if for no other.”

                                                                Peterson mentioned that two men, Captain JS Newall and

                                                                Nevill Vintcent had approached Tatas with the proposal

                                                                for a mail service. Sir BN Mitra indicated that the

                                                                government was more keen on a link between Karachi

                                                                and Delhi. The original scheme was to y Karachi –

                                                                Ahmedabad – Bombay. Tata's requested the Government

                                                                for a subsidy of Rs. 1.25 lakhs and as anticipated they were

                                                                turned down.

JRD Tata’s Aviator’s Certicate No.1, issued by the Federation  From mid 1929 to 1931, there was ceaseless
        Aeronautique Internationale on February 10, 1929.       correspondence between JRD, and the Government. This
                                                                period tested JRD's endurance and patience. Meanwhile,
                                                                Vintcent advised JRD to try for the Karachi – Calcutta
                                                                route in preference to Karachi – Bombay. JRD wrote back
                                                                to Vintcent, “times are getting from bad to worse in India
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