58 Pilots Course at the CTU, Hakimpet

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From the collection of Wing Commander CHL Digby

Commencement : ??? 1951
Commissioned : 30th August 1952
Trained at : No.1 Air Force Academy, Begumpet
Converstion Training Unit, Hakimpet
Conversion and Training Squadron, Agra
Intake : 50+
Output :
31 (incl 1 Navy)  (14 to fighters, 17 to Transports)
Commission Numbers : 4331 GD(P) to 4360 GD(P)  (Listing)

The 58th Pilots Course

The 58 Pilots Course started off with a batch of fifty young flight cadets arriving at Begumpet airfield in 1951. After months of training , only 31 out of the fifty graduated and got their ‘wings, this number included one Naval Aviator. This was on 30th August 1952, just over fifty years ago!

At this stage the bifurcation took place and 17 of the Cadets were posted to Agra for training on Dakotas while the remaining 14 were sent to Hakimpet for conversion on Spitfires and Tempests.

In August 2002, when the surviving members of the batch got together and reminisced about their friends, they could not help raising a toast to the missing among them.

Twelve members of the batch have passed away in the fifty years hence. They included seven who got killed in flying accidents, one who has died in service of natural causes. He was of air rank and today his son  is a test pilot in the IAF. Four officers who died of natural causes after retirement.

The batch certainly “had a productive output”. There are three Air Vice Marshals – DE Satur, CV Parker and MK Rudra. One Air Commodore in KK Malik.

7 out of the 31 became Squadron COs. 11 were QFIs. 2 became Test Pilots.Digby and the other instructors can be proud of this batch, as of the others that passed through their hands

Note: The Photographs here are from the collection of  Wg Cdr CHL Digby unless mentioned otherwise.

Any corrections or Identifications can be sent through the feedback form on the home page.

Further Reading:
»Sqn Service and Instructional Tenure
»The Caterpillar Club
»On Golden Wings – AVM CV Parker (VAYU V/2002)


No.58 PC after getting their wings at No.1 AFA, Begumpet C1952. The following are the Ids : (Last ranks in parenthesis)Back Row L to R: YP Mehta (W/C), VBR Misra, S Bhat, SC Saxena, DE ‘Denny’ Satur (AVM), OP Gupta, TK De, JP Gupta, VK Singh, RL Badhwar Center Row L to R : HN ‘Lofty’ Koul (W/C), RC Mariano, MW ‘Chuchu’ Tilak (later a Test Pilot), KD Hoon, R Vasisht, RN Kaul, KK Malik (A/Cmde), Jaggi Rao, S Sen, PK Chitnavis Front Row: CV Parker (AVM), MS Rane, AJ Maitland, MK Rudra (AVM), GS Iyer, SLTandan, MK Khanna, BK ‘Granny’ Dhiman and Hari Singh. Not in Photograph: MN Singh (W/C), Lt Jayachandran IN (KIFA)
Photo Courtesy: AVM CV Parker
- Digby addressing a group of pupils by a Tempest. L-R: VK Singh , MN Singh, Lt Jayachandran IN, RL Badhwar and Fg Offr  CHL Digby (Instructor).
Tempests in flight over Hakimpet 1952

Fg Off CHL Digby is flying ‘H’. Photo taken from a Spitfire IX flown by Stan White

- CTU Hakimpet c 1952

L to R: Unid’d instructor, KK Malik, Lt Jayachandran IN, 2 unid’d pupils, MW Tilak, RL Badhwar, 3 unid’d pupils

CTU Hakimpet c 1952: Instructors (in khakis) and pupils of 58th PC

L to R: BK Dhiman, MS Rane, MW Tilak, unid’d instructor (possibly Umesh Hosali?), RC Mariano, CHL Digby, KK Malik, MN Singh, “Tempest” Murthy, Lt Jayachandran IN, Stan White, RL Badhwar, Koul, KD Hoon, Arthur Berry, Denny Satur, BK Singh

- CTU Hakimpet c 1952: Reviewing pupils of 58th PC

First rank, L to R: HN  Koul , Unid’d (Obscured by reviewing officer), MS Rane, Lt Jayachandran IN (KIFA Tempest crash very shortly after this pic was taken)

Second rank, L to R: RL Badhwar, Unid’d (Obscured by Lt Jayachandran), MW Tilak, DE Satur.

Third rank, L to R: BK  Dhiman, KD Hoon, RC Mariano.

Aerial view of Hakimpet 1952. From a Tempest. Note the two Tempests parked on the ground. -
- “Tempest” Murthy addressing a batch of his pupils, c 1952. L-R: Murthy, KK Malik , Lt Jayachandran IN, DE Satur, MN Singh , KD Hoon, Unidentified, BK Dhiman
One of the small number of Spitfire T IX two-seaters operated by the IAF at Hakimpet, c 1952. This example is HS-539 -
CTU Hakimpet c 1952: Pupils and Instructors walking by a Spitfire T.IX

CTU Hakimpet c 1952:  Flt Lt  Murthy in cockpit of a Hawker Tempest II.

L to R: Unid’d, RL Badhwar, Flt Lt Murthy, MN Singh, Unid’d, Unid’d

- CTU Hakimpet c 1952: Pupils in front of a Spitfire T IX.

L to R: HN Koul, Lt Jayachandran IN, CV Parker, MS Rane

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