Allan Tramontana - Recovery during the expedition to the crash site of Air-India flights on Mont Blanc.
Mr. Allan Tramontana is a Policeman by profession and an Amateur historian, treasure hunter of every kind. He lives in France and has being going on expeditions since 2017, 3 or 4 times each year on the Bossons glacier on Mont Blanc (The Bossons Glacier is one of the larger glaciers of the Mont Blanc massif of the Alps) .
Interestingly, Mont Blanc is where two successive crashes, first the Lockheed Constellation L-749 “Malabar Princess” VT-CQP, under the command of Captain A Saint, crashed 200 metres from the summit of Mont Blanc, killing all 40 passengers and 8 crew on board. The aeroplane was located on 5 November 1950 and the second crash was Air-India Boeing 707 VT-DMN “Kanchenjunga” flying from Bombay to New York on 24th January 1966 under the command of Capt. J.T. D’Souza, crashed into a rock shoulder called “Rocher de la Tournette” on Mont Blanc at 15,400 feet in thick cloud while on approach to land at Geneva. After the crash wreckage was strewn over a wise area in Glacier.
Mr. Tramontana was on an expedition at the crash site, when he discovered the wreckage which believed to be from the crash of Kanchenjunga and found pieces of engines, tires etc., which were scattered along the length of the glacier and with the movement of glacier, some material has come out during the thaw and other small pieces have fallen lower under the glacier, with the water that flows.
It was the 12th June 2020, when whole world was witnessing the never seen before pandemic caused by Covid-19 virus and every one was at home to protect themselves from this virus , Mr. Tramontana was on his usual expedition on the Bossons Glacier and during this expedition, he has discovered pieces of a “Diplomatic Bag” of the “Ministry of External Affairs” having many newspapers, journals, official letters to the Indian Embassy in Washington. He had also able to find the image of the clothes & airplanes parts including an engine that was recovered on 4th July 2020 by the French Gendarmerie.
These are pieces of history which will keep coming up and creating a keen interest in this subject for the researcher, historian and collector around the world.
We would like to thank and acknowledge Mr. Allan Tramontana for his kind gesture to share the images with us from his discovery and allow us to put it on our blog.
Some more discoveries emerge from this site coming out every now and then, and some of the recent discoveries have been covered in the news. Reference links are provided below:
Venkat’s wonderful experiences flying Air-India International and other airlines in the 1950s to 1980s.
Dr. Venkatasubban, known as Venkat to friends and family, has over 40 years’ experience as an aircraft designer in India, USA and Canada, at HAL, Bombardier, Raytheon-Hawker-Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, CIRRUS Aircraft and Terrafugia. He is a Fellow of The Royal Aeronautical Society of the UK, a Raytheon Engineering Fellow, and a Hawker-Beechcraft Engineering Fellow.
Venkat grew up in Malaya and other parts of South East Asia and travelled frequently to and fro between Madras to Singapore and other destinations in the region. He has been kind enough to share some memories about his flying experiences in the early days. In fact, one of the great joys of maintaining this website is that I get to hear from so many interesting persons who visit. They all have their unique experiences and memories of the golden era of Indian Civil Aviation and Air-India. So, when Venkat wrote to me, I requested him to pen his memoirs for our blog, and he was kind enough to oblige. I can tell you all for sure that reading this account will bring tears of happiness and nostalgia to your eyes. I have read, and re-read this a few times already.
On a more personal note, I must apologise for the big gap in posting on my blog, but hope to get back to the rhythm of a story each month soon. So, dear reader, click here to read this fascinating story.
The Maharajah & The Silver Kris
How about an aircraft with no owner? Mysterious. Here is a picture of a DC-3 in Air-India International livery registered as VT-CGP. Just to spice things even more, here is one more photograph of the same aircraft below.
There is a note on the reverse of one of the photographs that records the plane as a Douglas DC-3 airplane VT-CGP, c/n 12928 (ex-42-108908) at London Airport in Air-India International livery, Silver, white, red, black. Picture taken on 24 March 1956. Now, I have checked the airlines web-site, lists maintained by Jeffrey Brown, airwhiners.net, and Warbirds of India, civilian registry, but could not come up with anything meaningful. The other question is, what was Air-india International doing with a DC-3 in London?
Mysterious! would appreciate if someone would research this and enlighten us.
A series of advertisements and posters were prepared, and I must say the designs are outstanding. Alas, I have not seen any of them myself, but the booklet shown above has images of these. I am reproducing some of these posters below, starting with the teaser poster designed to arouse curiosity, and then on to a series of posters designed to run through the first year of operations. The booklet goes on the detail out other publicity measured the airline planned for the first year including press advertisements, direct mail, route maps, a series of four introductory brochures etc. All in all, an extremely well thought through and executed campaign.
You can download the pdf by clicking the link here Indian Airlines Corporation - Viscount.
Here I will update you on interesting information about