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CSIR - National Aerospace Laboratories
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NAL Today - A Milestone in Indian Civil Aviation  

A Milestone in Indian Civil Aviation  

An Aircraft out of Foam & Fibre – foundation for CSIR-NAL to build light aircraft

In 1983-84, CSIR-NAL started the project to fabricate an all-composite aircraft using a kit bought from Rutan in USA. The project led by R B Damania, gave CSIR-NAL teams very valuable insights in building airworthy composite structures. The aircraft, called the Light Canard Research Aircraft (LCRA), was ready by the end of 1986. The LCRA, with Wg Cdr Askoka, HAL’s Chief Test Pilot, made its maiden flight on 26 Febraury 1987. After the LCRA success, CSIR-NAL seriously started the preparatory work to design and build a light aircraft.

The LCRA flying past the Bellandur Lake
The HANSA Success- flying at four Indian flying clubs

The maiden flight of CSIR-NAL’s light trainer aircraft, now called HANSA, took place on 17 November 1993. The  aircraft is an ab-initio two-seat, all composite aircraft,  certified by DGCA in the year 2000 under JAR-VLA certification. DGCA has promoted the deployment of HANSA-3 in the country by various flying clubs; a total of fourteen aircraft are in operation. While thirteen aircraft are currently flying in the Indian skies, out of which ten are with various flying clubs and one with  IIT-Kanpur. Recently one more Hansa-3 aircraft bearing registration number VT-HOE was allotted to the Amritsar Aviation Club by DGCA on January 29, 2011. On behalf of CSIR-NAL, AAC gave flight demonstration of this aircraft at the International Air Show, Aero India 2011 held at Bangalore during 9-13 February 2011.

HANSA at the Avalon International Air Show in Australia held in 2007

The SARAS- multirole light transport aircraft

SARAS had its maiden flight on 29 May 2004. The aircraft took off at 8.15 am and flew over about 25 minutes. SARAS is the first civilian aircraft designed and developed in India. Two prototypes have been built and flown (176 flight) by ASTE (IAF) flight crew. Third prototype aircraft (production standard) is under production at CSIR-NAL. Features include composite wing VERITy (Vacuum Enhanced Resin Infusion Technology), empennage, rear pressure bulkhead, front fuselage top skin and control surfaces. The aircraft will be equipped with an all glass cockpit including EICAS and 3-axis autopilot (limited authority). Powered by 2x1200 SHP turboprop PT6A-67A engines (Pratt & Whitney) driving 5 blade MT-Propellers. SARAS is capable of flying up to 30,000 ft (cabin altitude 8,000 ft) and is capable of operation from short air fields. Certification  is under progress by CEMILACand is  to be completed by 2013. SARAS has been designed for many roles viz, executive transport, light package carrier, remote sensing, air ambulance etc.

The first  flight of SARAS on May 29, 2004

Five Seater General Civil Aviation Aircraft (C-NM5) -    The country’s first public-private    partnership (PPP) in civil aviation

C-NM5 is the country’s first public-private partnership (PPP) for development of civil transport aircraft in collaboration with M/s Mahindra Aerospace Pvt.Ltd (MAPL). On the 1st of September 2011, a milestone event for India’s first public-private partnership in aircraft development, and a bold dream became reality; C-NM5 designed & developed jointly by CSIR-NAL & Mahindra Aerospace successfully undertook its first flight in Australia. C-NM5 is powered by a 300 HP piston engine driving a 3-blade propeller cruising at a speed of 160 knots with a maximum AUW (All Up Weight) of 1525 kg; glass cockpit is a customer option. It is an ideal aircraft for air taxi, air ambulance, training, tourism and cargo.

The first  flight of C-NM5 at Australia on September 1, 2011