(This Was Originally Posted On The Times Of India by Chethan Kumar)
National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab, on Wednesday announced the roll-out of HANSA-NG — the new generation HANSA two-seater aircraft — which is expected to start its flight tests later this year.
Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, NAL, said: “That we already have 30 letters of intents (LoIs) from flying clubs for the purchase of the new aircraft is reflective of the quality of the aircraft.”
HANSA-NG is an upgraded version of HANSA, which saw the first flight in 1993, and was certified in 2000. And, between 2000 and 2007, NAL developed 12 HANSA aircraft which were delivered to flying clubs across India through the DGCA (directorate general of civil aviation). It has since logged more than 4,000 flying hours with IIT-Kanpur still flying the aircraft.
“When NAL had developed HANSA there was no real market for it. But when I came to NAL in 2016, I saw a report by Kota Harinarayan which said HANSA had a good potential, but there was no market survey. So, we hired a professional agency to conduct the same and found that there could be a demand for about 100 aircraft in the next few years. That’s when we decided on HANSA-NG,” Jadhav said.
The Centre approved HANSA-NG in 2018 and NAL retro-modified HANSA-3 aircraft with a glass cockpit and got it certified by DGCA. The aircraft was demonstrated at Aero-India 2019.
Following this, NAL identified Mesco Aerospace Ltd as the production partner and jointly started the design and development of HANSA-NG with lower cost and superior performance as compared to contemporary aircraft of a similar class.
“HANSA-NG is equipped with IFR-compliant avionics with smart multi-functional displays, a glass cockpit, and a bubble canopy design. The selection of a highly efficient digitally controlled Rotax 912 ISC engine with superior performance increased the range and endurance,” NAL said.
It added that the DGCA approvals for design and production were obtained last year and manufacturing started in September 2020 — and just six months later, NAL has been able to roll out the aircraft.
Aside from the 30 LoI’s NAL also signed and MoU with the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) to be the launch customer of HANSA-NG for pilot training. Amber Dubey, joint secretary, ministry of civil aviation, said: “This is a matter of pride for Indian aviation. Now that the roll out has been done, NAL will need to begin flight tests. We are suggesting that after the initial months of tests in Bengaluru, the aircraft be moved to Amethi (where IGRUA is based) for testing.”
G Rajasekar, joint-DG, DGCA, said that HANSA-NG has already been granted a type certificate. “Next, NAL will need to begin the flight tests and then send the findings to the DGCA. We will then certify the aircraft.”