Now, J.R.D. Tata gets a digital flying licence

In was on February 10, 1929 that India got its its first pilot in Jehangir R.D. Tata, who qualified with number 1 on his flying license, giving birth to Indian aviation.

India has come a long way since then, with digitisation process of flying licences underway, being the latest among initiatives to be undertaken by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). In what might be a befitting tribute to the legend, the digitisation process, which kicked off in December 2019 is being undertaken by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Dated February 10, 1929, J.R.D’s license, then called an ‘aviators certificate’, was issued by The Aero Club of India and Burma, an associate of the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain, which was authorised to issue licences by the British Empire’s Federation Aeronautique Internationale. The Aero Club of India and Burma was recognised by Federation Aeronautique Internationale as a sporting authority.

The certificate in itself was a beginning of Indian aviation, as many aviation historians have noted over time. Though not the first to register, J.R.D was the first Indian to pass out with ‘No. 1’ endorsed on his flying licence. Purushottam Meghji Kabali is by various aviator accounts considered to be the first Indian pilot.

Born on July 29, 1904, in Paris, J.R.D. launched India’s first airmail service in 1932, when he flew into Mumbai in a De Havilland Puss Moth from Karachi’s Drigh Road Aerodrome to the Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad on the basis of this flying license. This later became the country’s national carrier, Air India.

Capt Russi Bunsha, executive trustee, J. R. D. Tata Memorial Trust recalled that that planned flight was delayed by a month to October 15, 1932, as Juhu mud flats, where it would land was witness to heavy rainfall. “In in first year, Tata Air Mail made a profit of ₹ 60,000, while rose to ₹ 6 lakh by 1937,” Capt. Bunsha said referring to available records.

Arun Kumar, the current director general of the DGCA the aviation regulator was now issuing Commercial Pilots License online after verification of the log-book of the concerned flying training school, while Airline Transport Pilot’s License will go online in May. “As we say, we have miles to go before we sleep,” Mr. Kumar said.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:46:30 PM |

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