JRD Tata flew the first Indian commercial flight

JRD Tata – How sportsmanship and four spark plugs gave India an Air Chief Marshal: Business Line

(Shreelakshmi Hariharan works with the Corporate Brand and Marketing team at Tata Sons. The column first appeared in Business Line on July 28, 2021)

  • In 1930, the Aga Khan announced a prize for the first Indian to fly solo from India to England or vice versa. This journey had to be completed within six weeks of commencement and the prize was open for a period of one year. Three Indians undertook this challenge. Two of them would soon cross paths mid-way through the competition, not knowing that a chance encounter at Egypt was to intertwine their destinies for years to come. JRD Tata, who has the distinction of holding India’s first flying licence numbered ‘1’, was one of the aspirants attempting the prize, starting from Karachi to London in a Gipsy Moth plane.


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