Last week, the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that it had successfully carried out ground run and low speed taxi trials of a commercial aircraft `Hindustan -228’. This successful trial is for `Type Certification’ by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
As has been reported earlier, after the 14 seater Saras aircraft development programme was shelved in 2009, this is the second attempt by HAL to develop civilian aircraft the 19 seater Hindustan-228 or the Do-228.
Military Aircraft to Civilian Aircraft
So far the company has been focusing on building aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) for almost six decades including the Hindustan Trainer-2 and its variant – the Hindustan Propulsion Trainer 32 (HPT-32). And most recently has successfully bagged a major contract for 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the IAF.
Hindustan-228 or the Do-228 is for the first time ever that any company in India has produced an aircraft for the commercial market for civil transport.
Why was Saras programme shelved?
The National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL) shelved the 14-seater Saras aircraft development program as there were multiple problems in its development. And it had to be shelved following a major crash which killed three test pilots in 2009.
HAL Division in Kanpur & Hindustan-228 (VT-KNR) aircraft
The Kanpur based Transport Aircraft Division has been identified to work on the civil aircraft and has been working on Hindustan -228. This division has been responsible for the transport and trainer aircraft for its defence and security customers.