Saras set to take off again in a month

 Four years after Saras crashed, killing all the three persons onboard on the outskirts of the City, the indigenous aircraft is all set to fly again in a month’s time.

“We expect a Saras flight by February-end or early March. A number of tests have to be completed and a clearance from the flight review board is needed before the flight,” Shyam Chetty, director of National Aerospace Laboratories, told Deccan Herald.

The review board comprises officials from the regulator, the Indian Air Force and the certification agency.

There was no flight of the NAL aircraft after it crashed on March 6, 2009, near Bidadi on Mysore Road killing two Indian Air Force pilots and a flight engineer onboard. That aircraft completed 48 flights before the accident.

Following the crash, the institution reworked on the platform and changed its certification from civil to military, as the IAF is likely to be the end-user.

A certification from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification is expected by the middle of 2013.

Saras would now be used to train rookie IAF pilots for flying cargo aircraft in the armed forces with the Air Force deciding to purchase 15 of them from NAL. A memorandum of understanding in this regard has already been signed with the IAF. The 14-seater twin-engine aircraft can be used for coastal surveillance, too.

The design of the first prototype is being improved, while in the third prototype other improvements have been made, including weight reduction and addition of a glass cockpit. The third prototype is expected to be ready by 2013-end.

However, the long-term future of Saras remains uncertain as HAL pitches for its Dornier aircraft in the same category for similar tasks. “Saras is four seats less and 1000kg more than Dornier,” R K Tyagi, HAL chairman, said at the Aero India show.

HAL so far has manufactured and delivered 118 Dornier aircraft, the last of which was gifted to Seychelles on January 31. The aviation major takes pride in claiming that it has possibly the world's only fully functional assembly line for Dornier aircraft.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry