SARAS PT1N, 14-seater aircraft, designed and developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), a frontline aerospace research laboratory, successfully made its maiden flight on Wednesday 24 January, 2018 in Bengaluru. The aircraft took off at about 11 a.m. from HAL airport and flew for about 40 minutes at the maximum height of 8500 ft at the speed of 145 knots. The flight was commanded by Wg Cdr U P Singh, Gp Capt R V Panicker and Gp Capt K P Bhat from IAF-ASTE.
SARAS PT1N (Prototype 1 New) is an upgraded version of the plane, after the second prototype of SARAS had crashed during a test flight killing all the three crew members on board, on the outskirts of the city near Bidadi in March 2009. It is a big morale booster for NAL to see a long-pending project gather steam and is the culmination of the efforts of team CSIR-NAL, IAF-Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).
Primary objective is to evaluate the system performance in about 20 flights and the data collected from this shall be used to freeze the design of production version aircraft. The production version aircraft will be of 19 seat capacity and will undergo civil / military certification.
The aircraft programme, named after the Indian Crane Saras, was first conceptualised in the 1990s as a way to establish a short-haul civil aviation market. Project was revived in February 2017 and an upgraded Saras undertook high speed taxi trial on 2 January, 2018. The revised version had improved avionics, radar, liner wing flap actuator, environmental control system, and engine flap and flight control system.
Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has congratulated the scientists of CSIR-NAL and other agencies involved in the successful maiden flight.
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