Many Restric­tions

The Economic Times - - Satur­day Fea­ture/ Econ­omy -

For in­stance, these two-seater planes, which are de­signed like he­li­copters, will not be al­lowed to fly at night, carry a pas­sen­ger or prop­erty for com­pen­sa­tion or hire, fly higher than 2,000 feet above ground level or en­ter con­trolled airspace with­out a valid ra­dio tele­phony op­er­a­tor li­cence. Pilots will need a li­cence and a cer­tifi­cate of air­wor­thi­ness. How­ever, gy­ro­planes will not be al­lowed to op­er­ate when flight or sur­face vis­i­bil­ity falls be­low 5,000 me­tres. The gov­ern­ment has sought pub­lic com­ments on the draft pol­icy, which will take fi­nal shape next month. Col Suhag said his com­pany had made pre­sen­ta­tions to the Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force and the Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force sug­gest­ing the ma­chines be used for pa­trolling the bor­ders and for sur­veil­lance in ar­eas af­fected by Left-wing ex­trem­ism. “There is tremen­dous use of this ma­chine in In­dia,” he said.

Gy­ro­planes made their de­but in Europe and are use in China, the US and Canada. The air­craft is es­sen­tially a ro­tor­craft whose ro­tors are not en­gine-driven, ex­cept for start­ing. It is made to ro­tate by ac­tion of the air when the ro­tor­craft is mov­ing and its pro­pel­lers are in­de­pen­dent of the ro­tor sys­tem, mak­ing it dif­fer­ent from a he­li­copter. It needs a run­way to take off and land, al­beit much shorter than that for a plane.

“A gy­ro­plane weighs just 600 kg and is crash-safe as it glides to safety and does not drop from the air like a chop­per in case of en­gine fail­ure. A chop­per is also too big for re­con­nais­sance pur­pose,” Col Suhag said. “A gy­ro­plane can be used for high­way pa­trolling and ur­ban polic­ing and many state po­lice forces have shown in­ter­est. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials can also use it to sur­vey a district in quick time to check on var­i­ous devel­op­ment works.”

Some avi­a­tion ex­perts have, how­ever, said that gy­ro­planes are ex­or­bi­tantly priced for In­dia since a sec­ond-hand chop­per costs less. “At Rs 1.5 crore plus goods and ser­vices tax, it would cost Rs 1.77 crore. I do not think it fits into the avi­a­tion sec­tor in any way. At most, it is a leisure ma­chine. Yes, if it is avail­able at Rs 60 lakh or so, there could be tak­ers,” said Capt Vib­huti Singh, founder of Jaipur­based Mi­cro­light Avi­a­tion.

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