Sunday, June 20, 2021

INDIA GETS A SWADESHI TRAINER, NAL ROLLS OUT HANSA NG

by Vijay Grover

The rollout of the HANSA-NG at Bengaluru by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a CSIR laboratory will be remembered in the history of Indian Aviation as a day, which gave India an ‘AatmaNirbhar Trainer’. A self-reliant, Made in India world-class trainer aircraft will fulfill the dreams of thousands of young pilots who will be able to learn flying.

The HANSA-NG, a two-seater trainer aircraft, made in India by NAL with advanced technology, and based on test pilot feedback, aims to be a game-changer in training the commercial pilots in the country.

The rollout of aircraft with a lot of fanfare in the Bengaluru centre of the CSIR NAL facility was a historic event displaying the skills of the team at the National Aeronautics Limited.

As the aircraft cleared the rolled out to the runway and is set to start its test flights by this year-end, it opened a new chapter in Indian aircraft development. Aviation experts term the rollout of the HANSA-NG as a big leap by NAL towards its self-reliant ‘Atmanirbhar vision’ in making indigenous advanced aircraft at low costs.

Keeping in pace with the rising demand for Commercial Pilot training, by 2016, India had started working on building infrastructure and trainer aircraft by improvising on the HANSA platform.

As India became one of the largest civil aviation markets with a huge demand for trained pilots and Indian Civil aviation was clocking double-digit growth even while global aviation was more or less static, many flying clubs across India started looking for cost-effective trainer aircraft, which could meet the statutory requirements of commercial pilot license.

Captain Kunjal Bhat, the Chief Instructor of the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Academy (IGRUA), told this correspondent, “We are looking forward to the Indian made first of its kind HANSA NG aircraft. We do a lot of flying and with this kind of state-of-the-art Indian-made trainer we will not have to send our trainee pilots abroad.”

The Academy is the first customer for this advanced aircraft which will help India fulfill its dream of adding more Commercial Pilots by helping complete training and certification in India. IGRUA has placed an order for 5 HANSA NG aircraft. There are 30 more Letters of Intent and several more inquiries, which the aircraft is evoking from Indian flying clubs.

Realizing this potential, CSIR-NAL’s decision to revitalize HANSA to cater to the demand for a trainer aircraft may be the turning point. According to Jitendra Jadhav, Director NAL, “It was after interactions with flying clubs and regulatory authorities, we made the specifications of HANSA – New Generation (NG). With a growing need for a Swadeshi trainer aircraft, the Government sanctioned the HANSA –NG project towards the end of 2018.”

He further stated, “CSIR-NAL retro-modified HANSA-3 aircraft with a glass cockpit and got it certified by DGCA and the finished product is there for all of India to see”

HANSA- NG, an upgraded version is built on the platform of HANSA, which was launched in 1993 and 11 flying clubs in India are already in possession of the aircraft. The new generation version, which is equipped with smart avionics and the advanced features in its cockpit will enhance the flying experience of the trainee pilots.

This will cater to the demand for a modern trainer aircraft in India that is still dependent on importing such aircraft. What is heartening is that this swadeshi trainer has already received 30 letters of intent from various flying clubs in the country and HAL is all set to manufacture the aircraft soon.

The DGCA has assured full support to the NAL and HAL in their efforts to boost India’s domestic flying sector. The CSIR-NAL, Bengaluru, pioneers in India’s Civil Aircraft Design and Development initiated the design and development of a two-seater ab-initio trainer aircraft “HANSA” – an all-composite aircraft and the first of its kind in the country. The aircraft underwent extensive flight testing and was certified by DGCA under the JAR-VLA category in the year 2000.

CSIR-NAL manufactured and delivered 11 aircraft to flying clubs across India through DGCA during the year 2000 to 2007. The total flying hours logged by these aircraft is about 4000 hrs.

CSIR-NAL identified M/s 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. The Smart Composite Manufacturing facility at NAL was inaugurated by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in 2019. Design and Production Organization approvals were obtained from DGCA and manufacturing of HANSA-NG was initiated in September 2020.

By using the innovative JIPREG composite technique, various components of HANSA-NG were manufactured in a record time of four months only.

Subsequently, by using the latest semi-jig less technology, integration and equipping of the aircraft was completed in a record time of mere two weeks.

HANSA-NG was exhibited in Wings India 2020 and Aero India 2021. Attracted by its potential capabilities, several flying clubs gave Letters of Intent for about 30 aircraft on the spot.

The eyes are on Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which has come forward to manufacture the indigenous trainer aircraft.

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