New Delhi to Calcutta, India · · PAGE 10.
April 6, 1964: She had another easy flight
the next day from Delhi to Calcutta, India. It is the first time she is on a
"domestic" flight inside one country. Jerrie followed the Ganges River for
about 850 miles on the way to Calcutta to see the "teeming life" in the villages
on the banks of the river. The closest big city on the Ganges is about 75 miles to
the East of the New Delhi airport. I picked this spot as good as any near New Delhi
to begin her route of following the Ganges River. She could have joined the river
route further south of the location seen here. She did not mention where she started
flying with the river heading down stream.
This map of India came from the internet as you can see, but it does provide
the big picture of where she flew on this day from New Delhi to Calcutta. On this
map, Calcutta is spelled as "Kolkata."
She did not get a chance to fly over the Taj Mahal on the banks of the Yamura
River. It was in a prohibited area near Agra. Google Earth provides a walking
tour showing many photos taken on the grounds of the Taj Mahal. You can see them on
your computer. Here is how to do the walk. There are no street views for
India, but there are walking views here. Drag the pedestrian to various places on
the Taj Mahal property. If there is a walking route in that area, you will see a
photo similar to the ones below this overview image. Depending on your screen size
and resolution, you may have to grab the slider bar at the bottom of your browser window
to see all of the image here. The little blue squares are photos taken by the public
when visiting areas on the map. You can click on any of them and a new window willl
open to the photos from that link on the screen.
This is one of the views you can see on your own by following the yellow lines
that appear after you drag the little pedestrian over the "big picture" looking
down on the Taj Mahal area. When Google Earth puts you in this screen below, move
your mouse over the yellow lines and click to move along them. You can click on the
image anywhere to drag with your mouse to see the view in any direction at each stop along
the lines. This photo is looking NORTH since the "N" is at the top of the
The view below is looking WEST from a point near the view point of the image seen above. You can tell that by looking at the "compass circle" in the upper right corner of the image. The "N" always points NORTH. If the "N" is on the right side of the "compass", then the view ahead is looking WEST.
Jerrie mentioned the holy city of Benares, now known as Varanasi, India.
The course line below follows the Ganges River beginning with the two dots that have no
labels on them.
Here is a Google Earth aerial view flying over the river at Benares. The
next image below this one was posted near the push pin below next to my black label
This seems to be a popular location on the Ganges River at Benares. I
found two different pictures from Links on Google Earth. This one has the best
detail and may require you to "slide" the view on your browser to see all of the
This view gives the big picture of the Ganges River in the area of Varanasi
(Benares). North is up in the image below. The red line is my presumed track
of Jerrie's flight down the river on her way to Calcutta (Kolkata).
Jerrie spent the night in this hotel in Calcutta. What you see here is
the oldest part of the hotel. There are a couple of new buildings that have been
The old hotel that was built in 1830 has been renovated, and new additions have
been added as you can see in this modern photo.
More photos and information can be found via this web link: http://www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-great-eastern-kolkata/ Make sure you read the ABOUT HOTEL link found on the hotel home page.
Here is a "big picture" showing the Dumdum Airport where Jerrie
landed and it shows Calcutta. The airport is less than nine miles from the hotel.
This closer view of the hotel location shows how close it is to the heart of
the old city by the river. I turned off some of the Google Earth features to give a
less cluttered image seen here.
Here is the modern airport for Calcutta. When I was there in 1982, there
was only one runway, which is now over 9,000 feet long. Jerrie would have used that
runway. There is a newer parallel runway that is about 11,000 feet long. I was
on a Boeing 737 Indian airliner taking off from here that ingested a large bird in the
right engine just after takeoff, probably at about 2,000 feet MSL. The American
pilot did everything correctly and landed the airplane on same runway coming from the left
side of this image to make his landing. With only one engine working, it was
interesting to see how he used partial power on reverse thrust, and still managed to keep
the airplane near the runway center line. The plane had all coach seats with only
ONE empty seat, and it was behind me. The flight to Silchar was cancelled for the
day. We had better luck the next day. I did not look at the airplane
registration number. They probably brought a different one to Calcutta for the
flight the next day. This time, ALL the seats were full, but there were no birds to
avoid on departure.
The local Cessna dealer took care of Charlie for the night. She asked about getting some repairs for the brakes and the motor for the H.F. radio antenna, but they did not have the parts. She did not mention fuel in this chapter, so that must have been a service from the Cessna dealer. Jerrie talked about tea time with members of the Aero Club in an air-conditioned room at the airport when she arrived. She spent part of the afternoon shopping at the bazaar and the evening with her hosts from the Aero Club. She had time for some sight seeing before returning to her air-conditioned room at the Great Eastern Hotel. She did take time to write some letters to home which could easily be forwarded by the US Consulate office in Calcutta.
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