Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal was born in December 1916 at Allahabad, in a family of lawyers. He had an early interest in aviation, and became the youngest Indian to earn Amateur Pilot’s Licence at the age of 17, in January 1934.The outbreak of war in 1939 resulted in the expansion of Royal Indian Air Force and all those with pilots’ licenses were invited to join up. Thence began his glorious journey in the Indian Air Force. He served the IAF from 1939 until his retirement in 1973. During his illustrious career, he commanded No. 7 Sqn (in the Burma campaign), was AOC-in-C of HQ Western Air Command, Managing Director and Chairman of HAL, the VCAS and the Chief of Air Staff during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. After his retirement from the IAF, he served as the Joint Chairman of Indian Airlines and Air India till 1980. Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal passed away in 1982.