Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saras production-standard aircraft on hold

It's like a deja vu of the DRDO Avro AEW&C crash of 1999. And the signs aren't good either. The Saras Production Standard Aircraft (PSA, previously Prototype-3) has been placed indefinitely on hold until all investigations into the March 6 crash of PT-2 are completed satisfactorily. The National Aerospace Laboratory was aiming for a first flight of the PSA by June this year, though that target slipped long before the crash. The PSA was re-scheduled to first fly at the end of this year. The PSA will have new light-weight carbon fibre wings and empennage (weight, remember, has been the platform's undoing), a weight-optimised fuselage, an advanced autopilot and an Engine Instruments and Crew Alert System (EICAS).

10 comments :

Anonymous said...

These NAL buggers go fat everyday with heavy pay packets.we lost unfortunately three young pilots, that too test pilots. what does the FAA laws say? For small aircraft,which can not glide ,unlike the wide bodied jets have to do engine thrust reduction tests at 30,000feet or so. The pilots can at least escape using parachutes and also its high time a/c testing is to be shifted away from densely populated areas.. while trying to find a suitable place to crash land, the pilots have lost precious time. Bengaluru is no longer the same for aircraft testing due to densely populated areas around HAL airport and CABS.

Anonymous said...

^
The above comment is really in bad taste. It is not NAL's fault that the HAL airport is surrounded by populated area. Whether the crash happened during the test, if it was an engine thrust reduction test, not due to some other issue are questions that public still doesnt know. (can you tell me how you know whether it was this particular test or not?)
Aroor,
It is a standard practice to ground or put on hold new aircraft production if a major accident happens. It has been done by manufacturers like boeing and airbus.
I dont see how signs good or bad are visible from this standard practice? unless you havent mentioned everything you know?
The first sentence of your post seems sensationalistic though the title and remaining post isnt as much as some of the previous ones. Is it ignorance on your part of such standard practices or you have intentionally forgot to mention that this is a common practice?

Anonymous said...

it was thrust reduction test being conducted on the aircraft.... NAL people are singing it all over the place..... and these tests were done there before(ive been involved myself)


"is not NAL's fault that the HAL airport is surrounded by populated area"

dude/ss, But is'nt it NAL fault that they are sticking with the HAL airport ... its really dangerous.........

shiv, is that the Data recorder of SARAS.......i doubt it..i think they used honeywell data recorders......

Shiv Aroor said...

That's the FDR of the Saras, indeed. The photo is from NAL.

Vin said...

Not sure whom to blame and whom not to blame...

But feel bad for the low rate of success in Indian Aeronautics when compared to Indian Space Industry whose rate of success is on good side......

Shiv, heard Kaveri will be commissioned to flight testing in 2010.. Pls throw light upon the same....

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Vin: In aviation and aerospace matters whenever disaster strikes the investigating authorities believe in the adage: fix the problem, not the blame. Unforeseen disasters are part and parcel of the overall R & D effort and there's nothing discouraging about them, apart from the irreplaceable loss of lives. But given the severe financial, infrastructural and technological restraints that India's aviation/aerospace R & D agencies have been function under, whatever has been achieved (like the Dhruv ALH, Tejas LCA and Saras) thus far is nothing short of a miracle, rest assured.

Anonymous said...

anon@3:34

its better known as engine relighting test......i thing this one was at low altitude..

Bobs said...

Yeah it was indeed at a low altitude...from my experience I can recollect this procedure being done from a relatively safe altitude 8-10kms..I don't know whether they were attempting to test some other parameter at that altitude..whatever has happened is sad and although the lives cannot be replaced i hope NAL will recover from this tragedy
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btw,can anyone tell me the ejection procedure employed on the saras? the props are the scariest thing I have faced in my life ..i managed to escape with a minor cut across my fingers once ....but had the misfortune of witnessing the worst tragedy on board the Vikrant.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty dangerous test... what were the safety precautions being employed? I agree with Prasun, engineering projects like this are fraught with danger, all engineering systems break down, and we don't always have the luxury of being able to walk away unscathed. Being a test pilot is a dangerous job.

kuldeep singh chauhan said...

hope saras gets completed n delivered soon i hope itz not jinxed lyk other NAL projects. a faster delivery of saras would be a fitting tribute to the martyr test pilots. may their soul rest in peace.