Heightened awareness of the steady growth in regional air traffic among small and medium-sized cities has convinced the Indian government to commit some $2 billion for the development of a 70- to 90-seat civilian aircraft. “This is a strategic sector where there is a need to have a presence in the long term, particularly in view of the rapid growth of our aviation sector.” said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India’s bid to design and develop its own indigenous civil aircraft is once again under discussion. According to government sources, a new policy decision is expected on the civil aircraft program by February 12.
National Aerospace Laboratories Saras, Bangalore, India, March 6, 2009–The number-two prototype of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered Saras crashed on its 49th test flight, killing three test pilots. The Indian National Aerospace Laboratories expects to certify the 14-seat Saras next year.
The number-two prototype Saras twin-turboprop crashed on March 6 in India during its 49th test flight, killing the three test pilots on board. The third prototype of the 14-seat Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered twin is under construction and will be production-conforming. Indian certification of the Saras is expected next year.
India’s National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) still plans to go ahead with the project to develop the country’s first indigenous airplane despite the March 6 crash of its number-two Saras prototype. “The Saras project will continue; we will not shelve it,” SK Brahmachari, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), told the press yesterday.
Indian state-owned National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) continue working on a 12-passenger twin-turboprop pusher called the Saras, named after the graceful Indian crane. The first prototype, which made its flying debut at Aero India 2005, has logged 95 flight hours in 40 test flights. Teething problems discovered in the initial phase of flight-testing have been solved, NAL director Dr. A.R.
On display at Aero India 2005 earlier this year (see facing page) was the Saras, a low-wing aircraft with an mtow of 13,450 pounds and powered by two 850-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 turboprops driving Hartzell five-blade pusher propellers, being developed by India’s National