Hyderabad State Aero Club hosted the first ever air show at Begumpet airport
HYDERABAD: Hyderabad might have emerged as an aviation hub now, but it has a history stretching more than half a century. Aircraft and flying caught the imagination of Hyderabadis as far back as 1937 when the first air show was held. No, there were no aerobatic displays, no parasailing or hot air ballooning.
It was just a static air show. And it held everyone spell bound.The Hyderabad State Aero Club founded in 1936 hosted the first ever air show at the Begumpet airport. Interestingly, the same historical air terminal is now home to the India Aviation 2008.
There were hardly half a dozen aircraft – mostly British registered. This was a ‘spectacular display’ those days and it attracted quite a crowd. Maharaja Kishan Prasad, the then Prime Minister, also turned up to watch the breathtaking event.
Also present were Akheel Jung, president, Civil Aviation Board, and members A. Hyderi, Mahdi Yar Jung, Rais Jung, E.W. Slaughter, Agent, Nizam’s State Railways and Mohd Ahmed, Postmaster General. One can see the thrill and curiosity among the visitors. Today commoners are also able to travel by air but those days even among the affluent very few had this privilege, says Anuradha Reddy, aviation expert.
Unlike the modern aeroplanes, the aircrafts of yore were flimsy structures made of wire, wood, fabric and dope paint. Care was taken to use as little heavy metal as possible since weight of the aircraft counted a lot.
What was the need for the air show in 1937 ? The European manufacturers, it is said, planned it as a business venture. They also wanted it to be public relation exercise and to raise interest among aviation.Naturally such air shows were first encouraged in British administered residencies of India – Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Delhi. They were also promoted in the progressive princely states like Hyderabad and Jodhpur. Thanks to the dream and efforts of pioneer aviators like P.M. Reddy, Babar Mirza and the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Begumpet Airport has made a mark in the aviation map of the country.