Sadly, I couldn't be there, but I had a friend hold his phone to the air at Bangalore's HAL airport as the LCA Navy prototype roared into the air a few moments ago on its long-delayed debut flight! (I'd posted last morning
about the flight.)
The NP-1 twin seat trainer prototype took off at 12.10pm on a 20 minute flight. The aircraft was piloted by Commodore Jaideep Avinash Maolankar, Chief Test Pilot with the NFTC, and co-piloted by Wing Commander M. Prabhu, flight test engineer (FTE). Both pilots report that the first flight was a success and that the aircraft responded as expected.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Satish Soni and DRDO chief Dr V.K. Saraswat were among those who witnessed the first flight.
The platform has had several technical hurdles that the team has worked hard to sort out. Stay tuned for updates and photos. As always, you heard it first on Livefist
:) Godspeed and all the very best to the LCA Navy team, led by Commodore (Retd) C.D. Balaji