India buys 194 microlight aircraft from Slovenia

Rs 105-cr deal signed to promote adventure flying activities
Last Updated : 12 October 2015, 19:55 IST

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 The Defence Ministry on Monday signed a Rs 105-crore deal with a Slovenian firm to buy 194 microlight aircraft to train the youngsters in the National Cadet Corp (NCC) and promote adventure flying activities in Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy.

Pipistrel’s Virus SW 80 Garud won the tender floated in 2011, beating 10 other competitors. The final defence ministry approval came in July 2015.

As per the contract, the manufacturer Pipistrel will deliver the microlight aircraft in 30 months’ time. Pipistrel will also supply spare engines, parts and provide 10 years of product support.

While the NCC would receive 110 microlight for training air wing cadets, IAF would get 72 and Navy 12 microlights.

The NCC’s proposal was pending for the last 10 years.

In 2007, two IAF pilots - Wing Commanders Rahul Monga and Anil Kumar - circumnavigated the world in 80 days in a micro-light, creating a record. They flew over 16 countries and touched 81 destinations.

Their micro-light aircraft covered a distance of 40,497 km over varied terrain.
The Slovenian company claims that its Virus SW 80 is the most economic high speed cruiser and is definitely the fastest high-wing plane in its category.

The 300 kg aircraft is powered by 80 HP aviation certified engine and can reach a maximum speed of more than 220 km/hour, fly for a minimum of three hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 6,000 metres.

“Since the aircraft will be used exclusively for training of Flight Safety and Air Wing Cadets, it has been equipped with a special ballistic parachute rescue system that saves the entire aircraft and both pilots in the case of accident,” Pipistrel’s chief executive officer Ivo Boscarol said.

Published 12 October 2015, 19:55 IST

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