The three PIA aircraft lost during the war were:
1) DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (AP-AWH)
2) Fokker F-27 Friendship Mk 200 (AP-ALX)
3) Boeing 707-340C (AP-AVZ)
Following are details, gathered from various sources, related to loss of these three PIA aircraft.
Day: December 4 or 5, 1971
Location: Dacca Airport/Tejgaon Air Base, Dacca, East Pakistan
Aircraft: de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
PIA DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 (AP-AWH) which was destroyed on ground during December 1971 war.
According to an article by Air Marshal Inam-ul-Haque Khan (Retd), HJ, Former Air Officer Commanding East Pakistan, there were two PIA Twin Otters at Dacca airfield at the start of hostilities in December 1971.
The two Twin Otters were hidden under trees due to absence of pen not large enough to properly secure these two aircraft. On December 4 afternoon, AP-AWH was destroyed on ground by Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21FL flown by Wing Commander Bhupinder Kumar Bishnoi (photo here) during air raid according to info posted >>here<<. The second Twin Otter (registration ?) was lucky to survive the air raid.
On December 8, the surviving Twin Otter of PIA took-off from Dacca airfield taxiway on flight to Burma (presently known as Myanamar). The Twin Otter on its flight to Burma carried Pakistan Air Force (PAF) No. 14 Squadron F-86E Sabre fighter pilots because runway at Dacca cratered by IAF bombings had become unusable for combat aircraft operations. The F-86E pilots were flown to Burma to shift them to West Pakistan and enable them to take part in air war from West Pakistan.
Pilots of PIA Twin Otter that flew the aircraft to Burma deserve appreciation for showing courage by flying unarmed Twin Otter to Burma in the middle of war in the absence of aerial escort/protection.
A small number of remaining PAF fighter pilots were flown to Burma from East Pakistan by Pakistan Government's Department of Plant Protection DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, according to some sources.
HereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s related painting by Syed Masood Akhtar Hussaini.
The Last Encounter
1612 Hours, 4 December, 1971
Squadron Leader Dilawar destroys a Hunter over Dacca in the last air battle in East Pakistan.
Next day, the Tejgaon airfield seen in the background would be destroyed completely by enemy bombers thus ending a desperate but heroic stand taken against overhelming odds by 14 Squadron.
Today the Squadron flies the F-16s and proudly displays the battle honours of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Kalai Kunda 1965ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ and ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Dacca 1971ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ inscribed on its Squadron Colour. Far greater honours, may lie in the future for No. 14 Squadron, but the unforgettable epic of its handful audacious warriors rising repeatedly from Tejgaon runway to challenge an enemy who outnumbered them 10 to 1, shall remain enshrined in its history for all times to come.
Painting scan & caption source: Air Warriors of Pakistan
Btw, was PAF Squadron No. 14 in Dacca during 1971 war equipped with F-86F Sabres in bare metal colour scheme (as shown in this painting) as well as F-86E Sabres (Canadair Sabre Mk 6) in green camouflage colour scheme? Or No. 14 had F86E Sabres in both green camouflage and bare metal colour scheme during 1971 war at Dacca's Tejgaon Air Base? I think during 1965 war, all F-86F Sabres of No. 14 Squadron in Dacca had bare metal colour scheme.
The article by Air Marshal Inam-ul-Haque Khan can be found on following link:
Link: Saga of PAF in East Pakistan ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 1971
Day: December 10, 12 or 13, 1971
Location: Crash site in Balochistan, Pakistan, near border with Iran or Arabian Sea.
Aircraft: Fokker F-27 Friendship Mk 200
PIAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ill-fated Fokker F-27 Friendship Mk 200 (AP-ALX) at Karachi Airport.
AP-ALX was the second PIA aircraft lost during 1971 war. The exact date of incident and crash location is not clear. According to info on www.bharat-rakshak.com page 'AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN PAKISTAN -1971 WAR', AP-ALX was lost on December 10, 1971, over Arabian Sea.
The report on aviation-safety.net says AP-ALX was flying from Karachi to Zahedan (Iran) on December 12, 1971 when it crashed in Pakistan near border with Iran. Early hours of December 13, 1971 is mentioned as AP-ALX accident date/time by one brief news report.
Iran provided shelter to a number of PIA airliners during 1971 war and probably thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s why AP-ALX was flying to Zahedan from Karachi ? The cause of accident remains unknown. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unclear whether AP-ALX suffered some technical fault or crashed due to enemy or friendly fire by mistake. But Indian military does not claim shooting down AP-ALX.
HereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also important to mention that during 1971 war, PIA Fokker F-27 aircraft also assisted Pakistan armed forces in locating and monitoring movements of Indian Navy boats. The unarmed PIA F-27 operated risky sea patrol flights most probably from Karachi Airport.
PIA F-27 sea patrol missions during 1971 war are mentioned on a number of Pakistani and Indian websites.
Following is an extract from Brig. Z.A. Khan's "The Way It was" posted >>here<<.
"When the Indian missile boats approached Karachi and were spotted by a PIA Fokker, the Navy asked for an air attack"
Following info can be found in article titled 'The Fighter Gap' on www.defencejournal.com.
"On the opening day of the '71 war, I had just returned from Jaisalmir, on entering the crew-room, I saw Gp.Capt. Rashid Rehman and Captain Bhombul the Director Naval Operations. They said that they had sighted an Indian convoy at about 1800 hours from a PIA Fokker, consisting of two merchant men escorted by six warships. Their position was 150 nautical miles south of Karachi, steaming south-east at about 15 knots."
Following is copied from article 'Analysis of the Pakistan Navy's Accounts of the 1971 War'
Info under heading ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Civvies caught in the crossfireÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ posted >>here<< says:"On December 3, the PIA Fokker flying along the Kathiawar coast reported the sighting of India's Western fleet. The Pakistani submarines deployed in the area were not able to attack it, as they got their orders to commence their operations late that evening."
Quoted below is excerpt from article titled "Pakistan's Crisis in Leadership" which claims PIA Fokker lost during 1971 war was on sea patrol mission."Another PIA Fokker was sent to hunt the Indian Navy task force after the attack on Karachi, it crashed due to unknown reasons and killed four."
"The PAF was not equipped to support naval operations. Maritime reconnaissance was only provided by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and civil aviation aircraft which had been pressed into service after the emergency (i.e. on 23 November 1971). In all, 59 sorties by PIA aircraft and 68 sorties by civil aviation aircraft were provided during the war. In spite of all their limitations and their pilots' lack of training for this particular task, these aircraft still performed very well. One Fokker aircraft was lost during these operations."
The info on www.bharat-rakshak.com page AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN PAKISTAN -1971 WAR PIA Fokker lost on December 10, 1971, over Arabian Sea, was on mission to locate Indian Navy missile boats.
But in all these reports, details of why and how AP-ALX crashed are not given. The ill-fated F-27 could have crashed due to technical fault, enemy fire or friendly fire. HereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also important to add that according to info on Indian military webites, Indian armed forces do not claim shooting down PIA F-27.
If AP-ALX indeed was on sea patrol mission when it crashed then it will be good to know whether ill-fated aircraft's crew members who lost their lives got some posthumous award for bravery from Pakistan Government or not. But, as far as know, I don't think PIA Fokker crew got any bravery award as I never heard or read about it.
I hope Pakistan Air Line Pilots Association (PALPA) consider doing a research on AP-ALX accident and find out whether AP-ALX was sea patrol mission or not and whether crew got bravery award or not if it was a sea patrol flight.
In my opinion PIA Fokker F-27 crew's sacrifice deserves full recognition if AP-ALX was on sea patrol mission that day.
Day: December 15, 1971
Location: Urumqi, China
Aircraft: Boeing 707-340C
The third PIA aircraft lost during 1971 war was a Boeing 707. According to info on www.aviation-safety.net , it was a cargo flight operated with PIA Boeing 707-340C (AP-AVZ) and the aircraft crashed during landing. Fortunately all five people aboard the aircraft survived the accident.
I also remember reading or hearing somewhere, that AP-AVZ was in China to pick arms & ammunition for PakistanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s armed forces taking part in 1971 war. The cause of accident is not mentioned on www.aviation-safety.net but somewhere I read that AP-AVZ accident happened due to bad weather.
HereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s also important to mention that before the start of 1971 war PIA Boeing jets operated flights to transport troops from West Pakistan to East Pakistan via Colombo, Sri Lanka.
PIA aircraft had to take longer route via Colombo because India had banned all Pakistani civilian and military aircraft from overflying Indian territory after the January 30, 1971 hijacking incident of Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 Friendship Mk 100 (registration VT-DMA) named "Ganga".
On January 30, 1971, VT-DMA with 32 people onboard - 28 passengers and 4 crew members - was operating flight from Srinagar to Jammu when after take-off from Srinagar it was hijacked by two men and diverted to Lahore Airport where the aircraft remained parked for three days. On February 2, the Fokker was set on fire/destroyed by hijackers after freeing all passengers and crew members. After this incident, on February 4, 1971, India banned all Pakistani civilian and military aircraft from overflying Indian territory. This decision forced PIA aircraft to take longer route via Colombo, Sri Lanka, for flights between West and East Pakistan. PIA flights between West Pakistan and Far East were also rerouted via Colombo.
Following photo shows wreckage of Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 (VT-DMA) destroyed by hijackers at Lahore Airport, Pakistan, in February 1971.
A number of Pakistani investigative articles claim that hijacking of Indian Airlines Fokker F-27 was planned by Indian intelligence to use the incident as an excuse to stop Pakistani civilian and military aircraft from flying over India and disrupt air link between West and East Pakistan mainly to affect supply to Pakistan Armed Forces stationed in East Pakistan.