WHY IN THE NEWS?
Recently, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) carried out a successful ground run and low speed taxi trials of a commercial aircraft “Hindustan-228” (Do-228).
About Hindustan-228 (Do-228):
- The 19-seater Do-228 is the first major attempt in India to develop a small civil transport aircraft after the 14-seater Saras Aircraft development program at the National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL) was shelved in 2009 on account of multiple problems in its development.
- However, the NAL has been pitching SARAS Mk-2 (19-seater aircraft) for the government’s UDAN, since it has the capacity to operate in “ill-equipped”, “semi-prepared” and “unpaved airstrips”.
- It is built on the existing frame of the German Dornier 228 defence transport aircraft used by the defence forces.
- Two civil Do-228 produced by HAL for launch under UDAN scheme have a maximum take-off weight of 6200 kgs.
- It is equipped with a digital cockpit which will ensure more accurate readings, precise information and required data displays with feedback loops and capability for self-check to alert pilots in emergencies.
- It is conceived to be a multirole utility aircraft capable of being used for VIP transport, passenger transport, air ambulance, flight inspection roles, cloud seeding, and recreational activities like para jumping, aerial surveillance, photography, remote sensing and cargo transport.
- With a maximum cruise speed of 428 kmph and a range of 700 kmph the aircraft is capable of night flying.
- HAL is looking forward to exporting the aircraft as well to countries like Nepal.
- Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) was launched as a regional connectivity scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016. It is an innovative scheme to develop the regional Aviation market.
- Small civilian aircrafts are considered to be an essential element of the UDAN.
- The objective of the scheme is to create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
- The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports. The scheme is operational for a period of 10 years.
- Under-served airports are those which do not have more than one flight a day, while unserved airports are those where there are no operations.
- Financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and under-served airports, and keep airfares affordable.
- About 325 routes and 56 airports including 5 heliports and 2 water aerodromes have been operationalised under the scheme.
- On the commencement of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (India@75)’, the Ministry of Civil Aviation proposed about 392 routes under UDAN 4.1 bidding process.
- The UDAN 4.1 focuses on connecting smaller airports, along with special helicopter and seaplane routes. Some new routes have been proposed under the Sagarmala Seaplane services.
- Sagarmala Seaplane Services is an ambitious project under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways with potential airline operators.