Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Crashed IJT to fly again in 2-3 months

Well this actually started off with something that was posted on BR a few days ago, and pointed to here by PVS Jagan Mohan. That something -- the IJT Sitara (designated HJT)that crash landed on 7 February this year at the Aero India show in Yelahanka had been relegated to the HAL Aerospace Museum in Bangalore. I quickly checked with HAL spokesperson, who has said this isn't correct. Imagine if it was! Anyway, HAL's official position is that the damaged aircraft is still being repaired -- a major part of its starboard wing, fuselage and landing gear assembly was damaged in the unfortunate incident. The other prototype is currently continuing with its testing schedule. What was witnessed at the museum, it is thought, could be a mock-up.

Incidentally, the inquiry into the February accident has also apparently been completed and concluded officially that pilot Sqn Ldr Baldev Singh forgot to secure his canopy before taking-off, causing it to fly open seconds into his climb-out, bringing the jet shuddering back to the tarmac, and then off it (See previous posts on the accident here and here). Anyway, the fallen bird should be up again hopefully by January-February 2008.

What HAL's silent about however -- what the crash will do to the certification and introduction promise of the IJT by early 2008! In 2006, during the hot weather trials in Nagpur, HAL chairman Ashok Baweja said, "One more milestone achieved towards certification and introduction of a world-class trainer in 2008."

So that's gone for a toss, then. The Hawks will begin arriving this month. But the Kirans definitely need to leave.

Photo ©Copyright Vijay Simha Reddy/BR

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