One of the highlights at the recently concluded Make-in-India event was a locally manufactured six-seater aircraft. What’s surprising, however, is that the aircraft has not taken to the skies yet, having been grounded by bureaucratic hurdles that its creator has been fighting for the past five years.

Amol Yadav, the brain behind the aircraft, has been working on building indigenous aircraft for the past 17 years. He finally succeeded in 2011 when he finished making the TAC 03 (named for the third attempt by his company, Thrust Aviation Company).

The aircraft has a 350 horse-power engine, which is capable of reaching speeds of 192 knots (about 355 km per hour). It can reach an altitude of 13,000 feet and has a range of up to 1,200 km. The aircraft is also fitted with high-end navigation systems.

But the aircraft has been gathering dust for the past five years since the DGCA (Directorate-General of Civil Aviation) is not even allowing Yadav to conduct test flights, leave alone start commercial operations.

Yadav, a Mumbai-based pilot who works for Jet Airways, got lucky recently when he was introduced to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by a relative.

“The Minister was quite impressed when he heard our story and our intention to build indigenous aircraft and hence save billions of dollars of foreign exchange for the country. But the DGCA has not even responded to our application in the last five years,” Yadav told BusinessLine .

Parrikar seemed convinced enough that he roped in HAL and allowed Yadav to showcase his innovation at the Make-in-India event.

“Mr Parrikar has shown interest in the project in his personal capacity but we haven’t seen any interest so far from the Defence Ministry. We are confident that we can make even fighter jets, if given a chance… As long as I’m fulfilling all the guidelines and following all the rules, why can’t I get clearance from the DGCA?” Yadav asks.

The potential

His six-seater aircraft cost him about ₹6 crore to build, with everything except the engine, navigation system and landing gear being built indigenously.

“We are able to make this aircraft 40 per cent cheaper than a commercial aircraft with the same specifications. If we are allowed to go commercial, we can make it much cheaper,” Yadav said.