Flying the DHC-4 Caribou

Spread the love

 Wg Cdr Prithipal Singh Bhachu left the Indian Air Force in 1981 after serving in the Indian Air Force for 26 years. He is currently settled in the US with his family and works on Marine Electronics as an engineer.
He has had extensive experience in flying De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otters in the North Eastern Frontier Agency, otherwise known as NEFA. Photographs from his early part of career can be seen in the Profile of a Transport Pilot

He was one of the first to convert to the De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou, a STOL transport aircraft introduced just after the 1962 India China War. some of his photographs of Caribou Operations are displayed in this special Album.

PS Bhachu posing with the Caribou at Gauhati during his conversion to the type. As per the manufacturer’s recommendation, Conversion at that time was earmarked for pilots with experience in flying the Otter. Bhachu was one of the first batch converting to the Caribou.

A De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou BM-773 named as   Mishimi Princess parked in Jammu.

A Caribou lands at the Walong ALG in 1963. Note the Otter parked midway alongside the runway. Even today one of the Caribous which became unserviceable can be seen at Walong in a makeshift ‘memorial’.

A rare color picture of a Caribou supply drop at Hayuliang ALG in NEFA. There was a very small ALG at Hayuliang. But the requiremant for maintenance was very high, because of the Border road project and security requirements. This ALG had seen an Otter fatal accident and a Caribou accident.(F/L Ratnam was involved in a Caribou accident)

A Caribou formating on another during formation flying training at the base in Gauhati’s 19 Wing around Feb 66.

Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh DFC visits 14 Wing at Chabua around Nov 66. The Chief was also accompanied by Mrs Arjan Singh who was recieved by the ladies of the Station.

Killar Valley 1980: The civilian administration in Killar valley SE of Srinagar valley was cut off by road due to heavy snowfall in the winter of 1979-80. They requested an emergency drop from the IAF. It is a very narrow valley and large aircraft could not have dropped on the untested DZ. A single Caribou was sent by EAC for the urgent commitment. The drop was carried out in Apr80.

[Left] The Caribou dropping supplies at Killar in 1980 and [Right] after finishing the Supply drop.

The Caribou on its return flight from Killar. This was the one of the rare ocassions that the Caribou found itself flying in the J and K Sector. Throughout its career in the IAF, the Caribou concentrated mainly on the NE.

Flying the An-12 on the  Assam courier starting at Jorhat (10 Wing) on the return flight 30 Jan 77. The crew right to left, MWO Munjal (Sig), F/L Mohan (Co-p), S/L Bhachu (Capt), S/L Sidhu (N), WO Bhattacharjee (Gun)/(load master), WO Ajit

Courtesy of Anandeep Pannu

Leave a Reply