HAL Statement on Dhruv Crash:
As a matter of principle, HAL would not like to speculate on the causes of the incident based on the media reports available in public domain. The HAL team, which was already in Ecuador providing maintenance support, is assisting the Ecuadorian Air Force in its investigations. In addition, a three member team of senior specialists including HAL’s Chief Test Pilot is reaching Ecuador to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation. Dhruv helicopter has been designed for excellent handling qualities and crash worthiness and manufactured with advanced technologies. The helicopter has several safety features such as twin engines, dual flight control, redundancy in critical systems, self sealing fuel tanks, modern fire protection devices and a structure designed to ensure crashworthiness. These features ensure safety of crew and occupants.
Dhruv has been extensively flight tested throughout its flight envelope by highly experienced HAL test pilots & has been evaluated by Customer pilots from IAF/Army prior to certification by Military & civil regulatory authorities. After certification, Dhruv has flown nearly 39,000 Hrs as a fleet, with more than 80 Dhruvs flown by various users. These flights were all flown carrying out difficult missions such as high altitude operations in Siachen glacier in extremely inhospitable weather conditions, Search & Rescue in all terrains, flood relief and casualty evacuation. As many as seven lead helicopters have flown close to 1000 Hrs each safely in similar missions.
DHRUV’s capability has been amply demonstrated in several challenging terrains and missions. The role of DHRUV in the relief missions in post Tsunami operations and during Gujarat floods and the high altitude rescue at Pin Parbati Pass stand testimony to DHRUV’s versatility of operations. “Sarang” – the Aerobatic Display team of Indian Air Force has displayed DHRUV’s capabilities in several international air shows.
Ecuadorian pilots have undergone extensive flying training on DHRUV at HAL’s facilities and had expressed happiness with the handling qualities , advanced avionics and safety features of Dhruv during interactions with HAL instructors who flew training missions with them in India and Ecuador, Ecuadorian Air Force has successfully carried out several missions in their DHRUVs in their difficult terrains and has logged 860 hours. It appears from the reported statements attributed to the top officials of the Ecuadorian Air force that the helicopter may have been maneuvered excessively. The built in safety features have ensured that both the pilots walked away to safety without any major injuries. HAL is committed to provide products of high quality & value to its customers backed up by professional and dedicated service.
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