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Telefax: 011-24628727

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About Aero Club of India


Aero Club of India is basically non profit and non commercial organization.

The Royal Aero Club of India and Burma Ltd.(RACIB), as the present Club was known then, was inaugurated on 19th September 1927 along with Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA). Sir Victor Sasoon, a noted industrial magnate and philanthropist, was the prime motivator in the formation of the Club. The primary objective of founding the Club was to encourage flying as a sport and to create air mindedness among the youth of the country. The idea also was to enable them to participate and find employment in the commercial flying and aircraft industrial activities in the years to come.

The Club received official support and patronage from its inception. The Viceroy of India and Burma was its Patron-in-Chief and the Commander-in-chief of India, the President, the Director General of Posts and Telegraphs was the Vice President. The Constitution was drawn up on the lines of the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain. The Club was affiliated to the Royal Aero Club as well as to the Societe Aviation Internationale.

From the beginning, it was recognised that the objectives could be attained only by formation of Flying Clubs all over the country. Accordingly, the Aero Club took its first task of formation of Light Aeroplane Clubs. The Delhi Flying Club was the first one to be inaugurated in May 1928. It was closely followed by similar clubs in Karachi, Allahabad, Calcutta and Bombay. It was the only Authority in India to supervise and issue regulations for Flying Meets and to take official records of test flights in the country. This position is in force even today.

The Government of India provided assistance to all the clubs through ACI with two Pussmoth aircraft. Later, the Government extended financial assistance for their operation as well. The total annual flying performance in the early years of these Clubs was a little over 4000 hours corresponding roughly to about 3,20,000 miles. The number of pilots, who were trained, varied between 60 and 70 each year. The average cost to pupils up to 3 hrs. solo to qualify them for the Aviators Certificate was Rs.350 and the average time taken for qualifying for the Aviators Certificate, (flying license), was about 20/25 hrs. of flying. These certificates were issued by ACI.

Apart from the establishment and also overseeing the activities of the Flying Clubs in various parts of the country, the Aero Club actively participated by providing support and facilities to the notable air races between England and Australia as it was the only recognised authority in the country to issue carnets and obtain diplomatic permits for certain countries. The Aero Club was also authorised to issue licenses for arms, cameras and wireless facilities to foreign aviators passing through India.
Notable flights were made during the early years of the existence of ACI. Special mention must be made of the flights between England and India by Mr. J.R.D Tata, Mr. Engineer, as well as Mr. RN Chawla. Mr. Engineer had only eighteen hours of flying experience when he undertook the flight from England to India and won the coveted His Highness Aga Khan Prize.

The Aero Club functioned as a branch of the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain all along till Independence. Its activities were practically suspended during the World War II. After India became independent in 1947, the Club was re-constituted as the Aero Club of India Ltd.(ACI), with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India himself as its President. Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru, Member, Constituent Assembly of India was the Vice President. In the year 1950 ACI became full member of FAI. In the year 1963 word Limited was deleted.

Since its inception and till independence (1927-1947) the DCA and Aero Club worked in close cooperation. In fact the Aero Club was responsible for quite a few of the present day regulatory matters such as issue of Aviation Certificates to Pilots. The certificate No.1 was issued on 10th February 1929 to Jehangir R.D. Tata, Nationality British (JRD TATA) A-License No.12 issued on 12th February 1929. Aviators Certificate No.5 was issued to the 1st Indian National Bhagat Behari Lal. His A-License No.32 was issued on 25th July 1929. In all 746 Certificates were issued by RACIB till July 1949. The Aero Club was also involved in the training and approval of Flight Instructors and Engineers with additional responsibility for functioning of the flying clubs, technically and financially.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose enthusiasm for flying was well known was its President from 1948 to 1957. His grandson Mr. Rajiv Gandhi became its President in 1984 and continued to be its President till he assumed the office of the Prime Minister of India. In the year 1984 Capt. Satish K Sharma took over as President ACI and continues to be so since then.

The Club moved into the new building in September 1985. The PUSSMOTH VT-AKH a three seat high Wing Mono Plane, first flew in 1929 and was gifted by Shri JRD Tata to the the President, Capt. Satish K Sharma, in 1985 for display in the Aero Club of India building at Safdarjung Airport, Aurobindo Marg New Delhi-110 003.

Mr. Rajiv Gandhis tenure as President was conspicuous for formulation of a modest Plan for organised development of aero sports in the country. A time-bound programme was framed and implemented. After Capt. Satish Sharma took over as President of ACI and submitted a Plan to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 1983 for making a beginning for the development of sports aviation in the country and requested for a Grant-in-aid. Government sanctioned a Grant of Rs.448 lakhs to cover the expenditure for the initial phases of the Plan. Under this Plan ACI imported 28 Cessna 152A advanced Trainer aircrafts and allotted them to various member flying clubs in the country for training of student pilots. ACI also imported 24 Husky Microlight aircraft (8 twin seater and 16 Single seater) and eight L-23 Super Blanik Gliders, and procured 23 Dhanush Diesel glider launching winches, 40 aeromodels, parachuting (skydiving) systems, parasails and allotted them to various organisations to promote Powered flying and aerosports in the country.

Today ACI has 22 Flying clubs/Institutes as its members. The Flying Clubs have been rendering pioneering and very valuable services in our country in regard to ab-initio training of aviation pilots and engineers. A number of gliding clubs were established under the auspices of ACI with active assistance of the Government. Later Aeromodelling, Ballooning, and other aero sports like Skydiving etc were also included.

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