Remembering JRD Tata

10 Feb 2020 by Anithya Balachandran
JRD Tata

February 10 remains a milestone date in the history of Indian aviation, as it was on this day in 1929, when Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata received the first flying license in India, labelled No. 1.

To this day, Indian pilots are issued licenses as a sequence following that license No. 1.

Tata Group tweeted:

As an ode to the Father of Indian aviation, Business Traveller India looks at few key highlights of his flying career:

  • The first flight in India’s aviation history lifted off from Karachi (pre-partition phase) with JRD Tata at the controls of a Puss Moth aircraft. When he landed on the Juhu mudflats that October day in 1932, India’s first air service was inaugurated.
  • During the World War II period when airline operations were severely restricted and controlled; JRD Tata and Nevill Vintcent a former officer of the Royal Air Force decided to venture into field of the aircraft manufacture. Therefore, in 1942, Tatas submitted a proposal to the British government for the manufacture of Mosquito aircraft in a factory they would build for the purpose in Pune. The project was approved in 1942 and thus was born Tata Aircraft. However, the factory was instead used to make invasion gliders, as per the British government’s order.
  • As the chairman of Air India, and a director on the board of Indian Airlines, JRD Tata strived hard to bring the carrier on par with the world’s best airlines; and was successful in doing so. He was at helm of Air India until 1977.
  • In 1979, JRD Tata became the recipient of Tony Jannus Award, conferred on individuals for their outstanding achievement in scheduled commercial aviation by airline executives, inventors and manufacturers, and government leaders. Exactly, a decade later, he was conferred with the Daniel Guggenheim Medal Award in 1989.
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