HAL: Traveling has become a basic necessity in our lives. The frequency of people traveling by air every day has increased in great numbers during these years. You remember when air travel was very rare and only the richest could afford it, right? Things have changed now.
Flights have become affordable for everyone and the number of airlines has also increased, offering different types of flights to the population. Speaking of flights, it reminds me of the news that HAL, a manufacturer of defense aircraft, built a civilian aircraft for use in India. In this article we will explain why HAL does so and everything related to it.
What is HAL?
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is an Indian state-owned defense and aerospace company. It was established in 1940 and is one of the oldest and largest aerospace and defense manufacturers in the world. The HAL is famous for producing airplanes like Hindustan trainer-2 and its variant – Hindustan Propulsion Trainer-32. Both of these aircraft are military aircraft and are used by the Indian Air Force. These were developed almost six decades ago. Recently, HAL has also developed the light fighter aircraft for our air force. However, the company has not developed a civilian transport aircraft so far.
However, things changed on August 15 of this year. The aircraft manufacturer HAL successfully completed a ground pass and low speed taxiing of a commercial airplane, which would be called Hindustan 228. This test pass was carried out to obtain a type certificate by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC).
How is the airplane different from others and why is it gaining in popularity?
In 2009, the 14-seater “Saras” civilian aircraft whose development was being led by the National Aeronautics Laboratory was put on hold because it claimed it had too many development problems. There were a lot of problems, so development was stopped at that time. Today, the HAL has successfully developed a 19-seat Hindustan 228, a small civilian transport aircraft. This is the first major attempt in India to develop a small civilian transport aircraft in the country. After the failure of the Saras aircraft in 2009, this development of the Hindustan 228 raised the hopes of all.
But why is Type Certification by DGCA necessary for HAL?
Obtaining type certification by the DGCA will enable the HAL to obtain international certification of the aircraft. This will therefore be very beneficial for HAL and for the Hindustan 228 aircraft. According to the HAL, the aircraft complies with the airworthiness requirements prescribed by the Federal Aviation Authority of the United States. Prescribed requirements include normal, utility, aerobatic and commuter airplanes.
But the main question that arises is why HAL is developing a civilian aircraft?
The nation’s government recently launched the UDAN program. UDAN stands for Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik. As part of this program, the government is trying to establish regional connectivity. In addition, the small civilian plane would be an essential element of the project.
For the UDAN program, Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia recently said the central government aims to introduce 1,000 new air routes as well as establish 100 new airports. This is done in order to improve the connectivity of airways across the country so that more and more people can easily travel without any restrictions.
The civilian demonstration of the Hindustan-228 is already being carried out at two locations, the northeast and Uttar Pradesh, which are important areas under the UDAN program. The aircraft is ready for deployment to these locations. But how can the airplane be used by state governments? The Hindustan-228 aircraft can prove to be of great benefit to state governments and civilian operators. They are used by them to facilitate inter and intra-state connectivity as well as training, maintenance and logistical support of HAL.
How is this plane different from any other plane?
This Hindustan 228 aircraft is built on the chassis of the existing model of the German defense transport aircraft Dornier 228 which is used by the defense forces. Two Hindustan 228 civil aircraft developed by HAL have the capacity to carry a maximum takeoff weight of 6200 Kgs. However, to be able to fly in the category of commercial pilot licenses, the HAL must reduce the weight of the aircraft from 6200 Kgs to 5700 Kgs. One thing that fascinated me the most is that the aircraft is made entirely in India and therefore promotes the government’s India manufacturing policy.
In addition, this aircraft is equipped with the most advanced technology. It has a digital cockpit which guarantees precise readings, precise information and advanced and fast data display as well as feedback loops. It also facilitates self-checking to alert pilots in an emergency. All of this contributes to the advancement of the aircraft and makes it different from other aircraft.
What is the condition of the plane?
To give a precise answer to this question, we will say that the facilitation of aircraft across the country is very important. On May 27, ground tests of the first prototype of the aircraft were carried out and on August 15, ground tests and low speed taxi were also carried out to obtain type certification from the DGCA. Certification is in progress and the DGCA is very favorable to the aircraft. According to reports, the aircraft will go for a high-speed test very soon which will contribute to the certification of the aircraft. After certification, the aircraft will become more usable and will be available in various parts of the country.
What is the role of the plane?
Each plane has its own role. While some facilitate local travel, others are used for military and other related services. The Hindustan 228 aircraft will be a multi-purpose utility aircraft and will be used to facilitate VIP transport, passenger transport, air ambulance as well as other services such as cloud seeding, aerial surveillance and photography, recreational activities such as parachute jumping and freight transport.
Therefore, you can clearly see that the aircraft will be used for various purposes once it is fully operational and therefore will bring various benefits to the nation, the most important of which is to facilitate the UDAN program.
The aircraft is said to have a maximum cruising speed of 428 km / h and a range of 700 km / h, which makes it perfectly suited for night flight.
Another benefit to the nation that this aircraft would provide is its export prospects. HAL is eagerly awaiting the idea of exporting the aircraft to various countries, including Nepal.
Regarding the Saras program, it has received new impetus from various programs like Make in India and the UDAN program of the NDA governments. The development of Saras is proposed to be a 70 seat aircraft for regional transport which involves NAL and HAL. All of these efforts by HAL and governments to provide regional connectivity to these planes and thus deliver benefits to rural populations will be of great benefit to the nation’s economy. The development of an aircraft accessible to all and the development of airports in regional areas is a big step towards the healthy growth of the nation.
Edited by Sanjana Simlai.