Saras to fly again soon?

A re-engined and modified version of Saras, the first indigenous 14-seater plane, may fly around October, according to Dr T.S. Prahlad, former Director of National Aerospace Labs, that is developing the aircraft. Saras was grounded by the regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, after a prototype aircraft crashed during a test flight at Bidadi near here and killed three Air Force pilots in March 2009. NAL has developed two prototypes, PT-1 and PT-2. Saras was 100 kg overweight. Now a production standard aircraft of lower weight is under construction, Dr. Prahlad said. He was delivering the Satish Dhawan commemoration lecture on civil aircraft development organised by the Institution of Engineers. Saras has done 175 test flights. The Air Force has signed up with NAL for 15 of the aircraft for cadet training, transportation and surveillance. Saras will then go for military certification: “It will be ironic that [India’s] first civil aircraft may first get military certification,” Dr. Prahlad remarked.

Source: The Hindu

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