On Thursday, Twitter and Indian TV channels were all agog as an Indian Air Force Mirage-200- jet landed on the Yamuna Expressway as part of a exercise in emergency preparedness.

"The aircraft made a practice approach on the highway, coming down to a height of 100 metres before landing off the next approach," the Indian Air Force said in a press release. "All facilities like make-shift Air Traffic Control, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties and other requirements were set up by IAF personnel from Air Force Station Agra."

Here's what the operation looked like.

As it turns out, the feat wasn't quite so novel. During World War II, air force planes routinely landed on Calcutta's Red Road, by the Maidan. According to an article on the website Bharat Rakshak:
"To strengthen India's air defences, particularly around Calcutta, a number of Hurricane squadrons were rushed out, and airfields came into being all around the city. The most famous and visible one of these airstrips was a 1100 yard section of the Red Road, between Chowringhee and the Maidan. It was not an easy strip to operate from due to the camber of the road surface and the ornamental balustrades that flanked the road on both sides, and there were occasional mishaps, but the pilots enjoyed using the restaurants lining Chowringhee as their Ready Room, and the sight of fighters operating from the heart of the city did much to improve the morale of the citizenry."

Here is a clip of the No 681 Squadron of the Royal Air Force in action in the heart of the city, with its Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.