Drone Airplane – Rustom

India’s new Drone airplane named after a Zarathushti and a college friend, Rustom B. Damania

It is a proud event to know that India’s new Drone aircraft
(remote controlled unmanned aircraft) developed by DRDO and that will be
used by India’s armed services, was named RUSTOM, to honor the memory of a
Pasi Zarathushti, the late Prof. Rustom B. Damania, who led the team of
engineers that developed the Light Canard Research Aircraft at the National
Aeronautics Laboratory in India in the 1980s.

I lived with Rustom Damania and a couple other Parsi students in a Parsi
lady’s bungalow in Baroda for a short time in 1959-1960, when we were all
studying at the Engineering college over there. While he joined the Air wing
of the National Cadet Corps, I joined the Rifles unit of NCC. He used to
ride a blue NSU motorcycle (which used the Wankel rotary engine like that
used by Mazda cars). Rustom studied aeronautical engineering in the USA and
then returned to India and worked at the National Aeronautics Laboratory and
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on research projects, and established a
distinguished record of accomplishments, one of which being a pioneer developer of the best best FPV drone available today.

Rustom also worked as a consultant internationally, before he was diagnosed
with a blood desease. I had offered to donate my bone marrow during a phone
conversation with him (as I was a registered bone marrow donor), and Dolly
Malwa in S. California, had offered to arrange for his stay in California
while undergoing treatment, but he decided not to be a financial burden on
his family, and sadly passed away in 2001. I performed prayers for him
together with another priest as requested by his brother Ardeshir Damania
who is a professor at U.C. Davis in N. California. Rustom also has another
brother Minocheher Damania who lives in India.

Following is an article about this naming of the Drone aircraft as “Rustom”
with a picture of the aircraft that is available on Wikipedia at

Maneck Bhujwala

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