Give civil aircraft development due importance: Scientist

Give civil aircraft development due importance: Scientist

Civil aircraft development is one field in the country that has been least explored, and renowned scientists and engineers pointed out the possible reasons for it.

Speaking at the Professor Satish Dhawan Commemoration Lecture organised by the Institution of Engineers (India) on Monday, Padma Shri Dr T S Prahlad, who was a student of Dhawan, spoke about the challenges India faced in civil aircraft development.

Prahlad said civil aviation should also be given due importance like all other branches of engineering. “Unless private industries join hands, HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) alone will find it difficult to sustain and keep the industry growing,” he said.

A former scientist from NAL (National Aeronautics Limited), Prahlad said it might probably be the risk factor that acted as a major hindrance to the growth of the industry. “The possible question that arises is ‘why not buy one?’” he said, adding that it was the uncertainity or slow returns and a need for large investments that could stop people from exploring the field.

According to Prahlad, the most important factors that needed attention were safety, market, operating costs and branding. He said most international brands had already made a name for themselves, and it was important for India to concentrate on building a brand that people will have confidence in and rely on. “Technology without brand names might create problems when it comes to convincing people,” he said. The Padma Shri awardee pointed out a few weakness such as lack of manpower and expertise in modern technology that led to limited development in the field. However, he said, having a National Policy Framework could resolve most problems.  Dr K Radhakrishnan, chairperson, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), said India’s Mars Orbiter Mission would be launched on October 28.

“For the first time, an orbiter from India will reach a range of 4000 billion kilometres,” he said. Radhakrishnan said Isro had successfully placed 99 satellites in the geo-stationary orbit in the past three months.

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