The second prototype of the civil version of Ruag’s Dornier 228 turboprop built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will fly in March next year with a glass cockpit, ahead of certification “a few months” later, HAL assistant general manager of design AK Shrivastava has confirmed. The first prototype flew for the first time in June. Once approved by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Do 228 will become the first civil aircraft certified in the subcontinent. HAL has already manufactured more than 130 Do 228s for military use.
While the second prototype undergoes modifications at the government owned HAL facility in Kanpur in Central India, the first airplane sits idle due to runway resurfacing at the plant. “The certification has been delayed as a result,” Shrivastava told AIN.
With the launch of the subsidy laden Regional Connectivity Scheme by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, HAL has begun exploring opportunities to sell the aircraft to operators interested in connecting small and medium-size airports to the broader air transport network in India. Last year, now former chairman and managing director of Air India Ashwani Lohani told AIN that the national carrier would consider acquiring some ten aircraft for regional subsidiary Alliance Air. HAL’s Kanpur division already has received civil certification for both Do 228 manufacture and maintenance repair and overhaul, thereby creating important cost efficiencies for maintenance in particular, added Lohani.
The first prototype (VT-KNP), an NG version featuring five composite propellers instead of four and a Honeywell TP331-10 engine in place of the earlier TP331-5, flew in June, reported Shrivastava during the recently held annual Aero Expo in Delhi. He estimated a potential 20-year market for some 100 nineteen-seaters in India.
HAL manufactures the fuselage, wings and tail unit of the Do 228. Last year, the company handed over the first shipset to Ruag in Germany to fulfill export orders for structural assemblies of Do 228-212 NGs. Ruag has ordered eight sets, of which the seventh has reached the delivery stage.
A close contender to the Do 228—the M28 light transport aircraft manufactured by Poland’s PZL Mielec M28—has already received DGCA certification.