Rustom I

Here’s a significant contribution by a Parsee to our country’s development in aeronautics, which is perhaps little known, but amply recognised by the government of our country. Thought some of us would like to know about it. 

Some of us, who were present at the recent WZCC AGM, may have realized that both the brothers mentioned in the mail below were present amongst us.  

– Hoshang.



It is a proud moment in history to see India’s UAV Drone (pilotless aircraft) named after a Zoroastrian aeronautics engineer, designer and project leader that produced the prototype at at Bangalore, the late Professor Dr. Rustom Behramji Damania, included in this year’s (2012) India’s Republic Day Parade on 26th January. The picture was provided by Dr. Rustom Damania’s older brother Minocheher, a mechanical engineer, from Mumbai, India, and forwarded to me by his younger brother Dr. Ardeshir B. Damania who works as a crop plant geneticist at University of California, Davis.

Maneck Bhujwala

Rustom-I, a medium altitude long endurance UAV, takes-off and lands like a conventional aircraft from a very short runway.

An outdoor pilot standing on the ground close to the runway exercises the take-off and landing of the U

AV, and after take-off hands over the control to an indoor pilot, operating from the ground control station, for carrying out rest of the mission. Payload operator controls the various payloads from ground control station to capture essential video pictures and data.

Rustom-I can fly for 12 to 15 hours, at speeds up to 250 km per hour. It is intended to be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, fire correction and battlefield damage assessment. Further development of its use as a weapon delivery mechanism cannot be ruled out.

The UAV is likely to be inducted in all three wings of the Indian armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) and internal security organizations such as, the state police forces, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police, and the Coast Guard in the near future.

Ardeshir B. Damania
Davis, CA


  • Since the Time we Parsees landed in India & made Our beloved Hindustan as our own Motherland, we Parsees have contributed Very much to our adopted Nation India.
    Today we see all round Development in Sphere of almost in all the fields.
    Today I am Proud to belong to that miniscule Community which has done many good development in all the fields & also given this Nation of our own Mother India Many Great Sons & Daughters who laid down their lives for the sake of our Mother Bharat.
    I belong to this dedicated Parsee Community who had never failed the Nation. I do feel proud to walk with my head held high.
    Keep up the good work that is my message to the Gen Next of our proud Parsee community.
    Rohinton Patel (Muscat)..

  • Dr.M.S.Rajamurthy

    In mid seventies, I had the privilege of learning flying under Prof.Damania, when he was a faculty at the Indian Institute. I even had my cross country flight with him from Bangalore to Mysore. Later, in mid eighties, I worked under him during the fabrication of the first composite aircraft to be built at the National Aerospace Laboratories( NAL) based on Burt Rutan’s Long-Ez design drawings. He was a great dynamic and straight forward personality. He was inspirational and instrumental in NAL building its first Composite ab-initio trainer aircraft HANSA which is in many flying clubs in our country. The UAV Rustom is essentially Rutan’s Long-Ez design adopted for its high endurance. Prof.Damania was a consultant to Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO who were into unmanned aircraft program. It was a wonderful gesture on the part of ADE, to name their UAV as Rustom, in honour of Prof.Damania after his untimely death. Prof.Damania also built a Gyrocopter during his tenure at Indian Institute of Science. Physically Rustom may not be here, but he lives in the heart of all those whom he inspired through his work. I feel extremely proud to be writing this note on him.
    The link below will take you to a small note which I wrote after his demise as my humble salute to him.
    I take this opportunity to salute all the Zorostrians of our country for the great contribution you people have done in the development of Hindustan. May your tribe increase and flourish.

  • Zarksis Behram Munshi

    Thanks a lot to “” and Dr. M. S. Rajamurthy’s notes on Dr. Rustom Damania.

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