Ian Steele Loughran
Squadron Leader IS Loughran (Retd) led a very active life with diverse interests. Born in 1928, young Ian went to school first in Kurseong and then Wynberg-Allen School, Mussoorie, UP. He passed Senior Cambridge in 1945. Since his family owned a fairly large farm in Damoh, he almost became a farmer. He had been quite an athlete in school and college competing in seven events. At that time he held pole vault records, in school, college, district, and the UP.
He joined the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) in August 1949 as a cadet in the 54th Pilots Course and was commissioned in January 1951. In the RIAF and later the IAF he acquired the nickname Locky. He served in No 10 Squadron flying Tempests, became a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) in.1953 and instructed in No 1 Air Force Academy, Begumpet on Tiger Moths, Harvards and then at Jet Training Wing, Hakimpet on Vampires.
In 1956, he was posted to No 1 Base Repair Depot, Kanpur. Squadron Leader BK (Scorpie) Ghosh who was its Chief Test Pilot told him to do an air test on a glider. Locky had never seen one of those "things" earlier. He quite frankly admits that he was terrified being hauled aloft by a World War II barrage balloon winch, feet way above his head and shoulders, wing tips almost sixty degrees above the horizon. A deathly silence followed as the cable fell away automatically. A few launches later, and after some very interesting lectures by Scorpie, Locky was hooked. His family in the UK had visited the British Gliding Association and sent him a lot of training material. He was posted to National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nagpur to set up a Central Gliding Establishment to train Air Force QFIs for National Defence Academy and NCC.
In January 1958, Locky was posted to 23 Squadron, Poona and continued gliding in his spare time, and soon earned the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) proficiency badges. Locky became India's first Diamond Pin holder, and 321st on the FAI list worldwide. Now with the new fibreglass machines there are over 10,000 holders of the Diamond Pins. His achievements were on the heavier plywood and fabric gliders. Locky still holds the national long distance gliding record and represented India at the World Gliding Championships in 1968. He has also flown gliders in Africa, America, Australia, France, Germany, the UK, and Singapore. Despite this passion for gliding, he has not offered a painting of any favourite glider for this issue. Perhaps he has not done any paintings of gliders so far.
Locky joined No. 7 Squadron as a Flight Commander under then Wing Commander LM Katre (later CAS). One formation flight is remembered in a painting of four Hunters. (Webmasters Note: Locky was the Squadron "Scribe" of the Battle Axes - and the Squadron diary of that time was full cartoons and sketches drawn by Locky. All entries were signed off by the caricature of a "Lock" with hands and legs running amok wielding a Battleaxe!)
As a Squadron Leader in No. 20 Squadron he logged 14 combat missions in the 1965 War. Due to medical reasons, he switched to twin-engine aircraft and was in the first batch of IAF pilots to join Air India. He soon rose to become an instructor and examiner in the airline and later did the same jobs in Singapore International Airlines. Locky was deputed to start Air Lanka. And later went to Air Malta. The mandatory retirement age for all airline pilots is sixty, but he continued flying high performance jet aircraft with the UB Group, until a quadruple bypass surgery forced him to hang up his helmet and goggles at the age of 69.
After completing his extensive flying career, he emigrated to the UK where after a while he tried to join a geriatric painting class. The arts teacher asked him why he wanted to join a painting class as a really senior citizen. He answered that he would love to paint and would like to learn how to do it properly. He was admitted to the class and soon became almost a professional. He has done many paintings on commissions, some for private parties who value them as their proud possessions. Apart from aviation art, he has done many paintings of wildlife and Indian village life. His painting of a panther was used to create the first badge of No 23 Squadron - the Panthers.
This page is excerpted from the article "Aviation Artists" that was written by Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava and published in "INDIAN AVIATION". Reproduced here with permission.
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