The flights of his imagination

Devesh Agarwal has a collection of around 100 airplane models.

It was in 1972 when Devesh Agarwal’s grand-uncle gifted him a Märklin train set from Germany. He was just eight-years-old then.

Being enamoured by all things mechanical and with an intense passion for aviation, Devesh soon turned to collect models of airplanes when he was 30. Today, he writes for Bangalore Aviation and also has a Glider Pilot License.  

“I used to be an ultra-frequent traveller. There were four aircraft that I flew with very frequently - Pan Am, Delta, Singapore Airlines and Swiss Air. As of today, I have about 100 models in my collection. The very first model that I brought was the Singapore Airlines Airbus A340-500. I bought this on board the flight. I also own the Pan Am 747 model, which is the older version before they went bankrupt and Delta L1011 and MD-11,” says Devesh.

He says these airplanes bring back memories of his travelling past. For Devesh, it is not just about collecting any airplane but models that are unique and rare to find. He says this is an expensive hobby.

He has, in his collection, a couple of livery aircraft models as well. “‘Finnair’ had painted their planes with poppy flowers designed by the Swedish Design House called Marimekko. This particular poppy design was called ‘Unikko’. I also have the Etihad A340-600 painted in F1 livery to celebrate the first Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in 2015. The Air New Zealand had a special livery plane which had all the scenes from the movie ‘Hobbit’. Similarly, Spice Jet had a livery which said, ‘with all our hearts’, with photos of its crew members painted on the sides of the plane. There is another aircraft 757 of Icelandair which is painted in aurora borealis. This is the northern lights themed plane,” describes Devesh.  

Apart from these, he also has a couple of special edition planes. The all-metal model of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, which is used by the Indian Air Force cost him a whopping $400.  He says that this is a rare model and one can get it only in the Boeing factory. Another speciality in his collection is the Boeing 747 DreamLifter. It is the specially modified aircraft with a two-wheeler frame.

“I have travelled in about 5,000 flights and over 4 million miles. I like to collect models of at least the ones I have travelled in. I don’t have any favourites but I am proud that I have some of the rarest models like the Boeing C-17, original Boeing model 737 Max and A350 of Singapore Airlines in my kitty.”

The Trans-Caribbean 727-200, is the rarest edition in his collection. He says that even the Swiss Air MD-11 and KLM DC-10 are very rare models to get.

“I am keen to get the Japan Airlines and United Airlines next. I wish to collect many more airplane models. The best part is my son Vedant has also inherited this hobby,” says Devesh. For him, the most priced models are the planes which are no longer avialable like the Eastern Airlines, Pan American World Airways and the old Swiss Air.

Along with giving each other the much-needed motivation, the father-son duo is also very passionate about aviation photography.

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