(Last Updated on : 16-05-2014)
Aspy Merwan Engineer was born on 15th December in the year 1912.At the age of 17 Engineer received the Agha Khan trophy, as the first Indian to fly from London to Delhi in a Gypsymoth.He was the youngest Indian pilot at that time. He was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at Royal Air Force, Cranwell. After completing the training he joined 'A' Flight of the Indian Air Force. During this time he flew the Wapitis in the North Western Frontier Province. In 1938 he was posted to the newly formed No.1 Squadron. Aspy Merwan Engineer served as the flight commander of 'A' Flight of No.1 Squadron, which was involved in the air strikes of North Waziristan.In 1939 his squadron, attained an exceptional achievement of carrying out 403 hours of flying operations. Aspy Merwan Engineer was the first Indian Air Force officer to be Mentioned-in-Despatches for his distinguished performance in the battle against the Tribals of Indo-Afgan border. In 1941 Aspy Merwan Engineer was appointed to the No.2 Squadron at Peshawar. Three months later he was made commander of this squadron. He led several flying operations in the Tochi Valley and Miranshah.In 1942 he became the second pilot of Indian Air Force to be awarded as the Distinguished Flying Cross, after Jumbo Majumdar.
After independence Aspy Merwan Engineer led the Kashmir Operations as Group Captain and subsequently rose to the rank of Air Commodore. He commanded the No.1 Operational Group and later took over the charge of Personnel & Administration. After that Aspy Merwan Engineer was appointed to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. From 1958 to 1960 he served as the Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. At that time Hindustan Aeronautics Limited played crucial role for developing Indian Aeronautics industry and designing indigenous fighter plane like the Marut. After the unexpected death of Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee he was appointed as the Chief of Air Staff on 01st December 1960. During his tenure as Chief of Air Staff Indian Air Force successfully carried out the Goa Operations and actions against the Katanganese in Kongo. After the war against China Air Marshal Aspy Merwan Engineer became the supervisor of the infrastructure related development of Indian Air Force. During this period the first supersonic fighter, the MiG-21 was introduced. At that time the number of transport aircraft and helicopter were also increased. After retirement from the Indian Air Force Air Marshal Aspy Merwan Engineer was sent to Iran as Indian ambassador. Air Marshal Aspy Merwan Engineer died in 2002.