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Introduction

Ever since the human race came into existence, man always cherished the dream of being able to fly like a bird. Various flying gigs and efforts were witnessed as time went by but none succeeded till the dawn of the Twentieth Century when the now famous Wright Brothers made the first recorded flight in Ohio, USA in 1903. It may be noted that there is mention of an aircraft design in ancient Indian scriptures too. Aviation and later space technology saw the most rapid advances by mankind resulting in modern aircraft flying at tremendous speeds and highest altitudes. With the advent of and rapid progress made in computer technology, modern flying machines have achieved a very high reliability quotient which has in turn witnessed a phenomenal growth in aircraft and air traffic even in a developing country as ours.

SETTING UP OF THE CIVIL AVIATION DEPARTMENT J&K

The state government of Jammu and Kashmir started flying operation in 1987 using one Cheetah SA315B helicopter from Srinagar Airport. Subsequently a hangar was constructed at Nehru Helipad, Raj Bhawan Srinagar in 1991 and helicopter operations were commenced from the same. In 1997, One Super King Air 350(B-300) aircraft was inducted into the newly formed Civil Aviation Department of the state. The first Bell-407 helicopter was inducted into the department in March 2001 followed by another Bell 407 Helicopter next year in 2002. Unfortunately we lost first Bell 407 Helicopter in year 2003 in a fatal crash near Ganderbal in Kashmir when the helicopter was returning from Shri Amarnath Ji cave. A new twin engine helicopter Agusta 109E was acquired by the state in year 2006 to facilitate the flights of HEG and HCM. Important land mark in the history of department has been that it had the distinction of flying HER Excellency The President of India in state Helicopter twice. This perhaps will be the only state in the country with this distinction. In year 2007, the existing state plane Super king Air-350 was trade exchanged with a new one. At present therefore, state has fairly new inventory of aircrafts with modern cockpit and instrumentation.