Advantage UDAN, as ‘civilian’ Dornier takes off

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

The Dornier 228 is India’s first fixed-wing passenger aircraft in the commuter category. In the picture is a military version of the plane - Photo: SK MOHAN

HAL-made 19-seater gets DGCA nod for operations

On Friday, a Dornier 228 aircraft, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, took off from Kanpur heading to Nashik. The first civilian aircraft to be produced and certified in India, this Dornier is now available for commerical sale and could end up giving a lift to the ‘Make in India’ programme as also the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme called UDAN for Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik.

Till date, state-owned HAL has only produced Dorniers for use by the military. However, with the Directorate-Geberal for Civil Aviation giving Dornier 228 a ‘type certification’, it can be used for operations by civilian airlines.

Confirming the development, a senior HAL official told BusinessLine that the ‘type certification’ was approved by the DGCA in the last few days.

Such a certification implies means that the DGCA approves the technical and performance specifications of the civilian Dornier aircraft produced by HAL.

“The certification means that the product complies with the various regulations of the aviation regulator and has been approved for operations with an Indian registration,” the official said.

The 19-seater aircraft can fly up to 700 km on full load and is capable of flying at night. This is a non-pressurised aircraft and is ideal for regional flights. It is a multi-purpose aircraft which can be used to ferry VVIPs, business people to their plants, and also be used as an air ambulance, said HAL officials.

Officials said the aircraft’s operational capability was better than its competitors such as the Twin Otter, M-28 and the LET 410. Also, it had the advantage of being fitted with a toilet.

With over a hundred Dornier aircraft already flying in the country, operators will not have to depend on foreign pilots to operate the civilian version.

The development of the aircraft had been delayed as the runway at the Kanpur airport, where the tests for certification were carried out, was undergoing re-carpeting. The runway became operational in the second week of December, after which HAL carried out three testflights before inviting the DGCA for conducting its type certification, the official said.

Published on December 22, 2017

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