54th Pilots Course

Particulars of No.54 Pilot’s Course that got commissioned on 19th Jan 1951 at Ambala. The Passing Out Parade programme has been added to the page as a download.


Commencement : 26th August 1949
Commissioned : 19th January 1951
Trained at : No.1 Air Force Academy, Ambala
Intake : 73 Flight Cadets, 5 Naval Officers
Output :
Pilot Wings 23 Cadets, 2 Naval Officers
Navigation 12 +
Other Branches 3 +
Casualities -NA-
Withdrawn -NA-
Commission Numbers : 4021 GD(P) to 4044 GD(P) (Listing)


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Two photographs showing the Cadets and Naval Officers of the 54 PC during training at Ambala.
- Cadets awaiting award of ‘wings’ and commissioning during the parade on 19th January 1951

21 of the 23 officers who got their Pilot Wings from the 54th PC. This photograph was taken immediately after the Parade, 19th January 1954.

Top Row: PP Singh, MA Singh, Jacquet, Loughran, Dilip Chauhan
Middle Row: Krishnamurthy, MA Woodfall, Karambir Singh, Ralli, SK Roy, Mehra, Raje
Bottom Row: Tommy Philip, M Singh, Biswas, Jatar, Deshpande, Ramesh Chandra, Kalyaniwala, Arvind Dalaya


Sqn Ldr Ian S Loughran adds:

“We reported to No 1 Air Force Academy, Ambala on 26th August 1949, 73 Cadets and 5 Naval Officers. Only 23 Cadets and 2 Naval officers got their wings. The first 8 Cadets got Permanent Commissions, while the rest got Short Service Commissions. Later in 1953 everyone got a Permanent Commission.

I found the first two photographs in a cardboard box when I did my FIS Course in April 1953. No. 1 AFA had moved to Begumpet sometime in 1952, and FIS had been moved to premises previously occupied by the Training Squadrons. We were detailed to tidy up the offices (part of Instructor training, I guess !!) and came across the box with these photos. The bowler hats, rings around the necks or ears, are probably meant to indicate how the unfortunate guys were slung out.”

Air Vice Marshal Arvind Dalaya wrote :

There were 84 of us including 5 Naval Officers at Ambala in 1949

During our training, there was invariably a fatal accident on fighters on the same base on Saturdays. This was very demoralizing to cadets. It appeared that Ambala was jinxed on Saturdays. It was therefore decided to observe Saturday as a maintenance day instead of Monday.

Only 23 cadets and 2 Naval Officers received their “wings”. Out of the 23 cadets, 7 subsequently died due to flying accidents and other events while serving in the Air Force.

See photographs from AVM Dalaya’s collection on this page

Download the Program Brochure from the Passing Out Parade (From AVM Dalaya’s collection)

Do you have more photographs of 54 PC or memories to share? If yes, please email the webmaster

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