CIVIL AIR­CRAFT MAN­U­FAC­TURE FOR UDAN

In In­dia a long term vi­sion on how to de­velop civil air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try is sadly lack­ing

SP's Airbuz - - Front Page - BY SUKHCHAIN SINGH

IN­DIA, HAS BEEN IM­MENSELY suc­cess­ful in space tech­nol­ogy, but has still not made a sig­nif­i­cant leap in the civil aero­space mar­ket. In­dia is hav­ing a long his­tory of dual use air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing un­der li­cence pro­duc­tion but has not been able to build in­dige­nous air­craft of 9 seat tur­bo­prop for com­muter ser­vice, for­get about 19-90 seat air­craft used by civil avi­a­tion sec­tor. The Na­tional Aero­nau­ti­cal Lab­o­ra­tory (NAL) did build and flight test a pas­sen­ger air­craft, Saras, but the crash on March 6, 2009, killed the en­tire flight test­ing crew on board. In Jan­uary 2016, it was re­ported that the pro­ject has been can­celled, but in Fe­bru­ary 2017, the pro­ject was re­vived. Saras, a 19-seater im­proved ver­sion, has now com­pleted its sec­ond of 20 air-test pro­files on Fe­bru­ary 23, 2018, be­fore freez­ing its pro­duc­tion ver­sion which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by June-July 2018. The na­tional civil air­craft devel­op­ment (NCAD) pro­gramme, which was started in 1991 col­lapsed when Rus­sia which was aid­ing In­dia with the air­craft de­sign, dropped out of the pro­ject. Af­ter an es­ti­mated ex­pen­di­ture of about ` 1,000 crore over 20 years, the pro­ject came to a com­plete halt af­ter In­dia was hit by US sanc­tions in 1998 for test­ing the nu­clear bomb. We need to man­u­fac­ture our own air­craft for civil avi­a­tion sec­tor, be­cause a made in In­dia air­plane would cut down the cost of travel for In­di­ans. In­dia civil avi­a­tion com­pa­nies are pay­ing ev­ery year Leas­ing fees and for pur­chase of air­craft’s man­u­fac­tured in other coun­tries. It will also slash the coun­try’s bal­loon­ing im­ports and will add an im­por­tant item to its ex­ports list. THRUST AIR­CRAFT PVT LTD, TAC-003. The hot news in the last few months was an air­craft built by Amol Ya­dav of Thrust Air­craft Pvt Ltd, which was given a reg­is­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate by

the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion (DGCA). The six-seater air­craft re­ceived DGCA reg­is­tra­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, VT- NMD, on Novem­ber 20, 2017, but is yet to ac­quire a fly­ing li­cence from the safety body. The Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with Thrust Air­craft Pvt Ltd to man­u­fac­ture 19-seater planes at Pal­ghar in Da­hanu. Ac­cord­ing to the MoU, the gov­ern­ment will al­lot 157 acres of land in Pal­ghar to set up air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing unit to build at least one 19-seater air­craft by the end of 2018. In the com­ing six years, the com­pany ex­pects an in­vest­ment of ` 35,000 crore in the aero­space sec­tor in the state through the air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing unit. This would be in­vested by small and medium scale oper­a­tors who would want their air­craft to be man­u­fac­tured in the state. Of­fi­cials said the MoU with Thrust Air­craft is the first step to­wards an in­dige­nous air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in the state and want to make many more Amols from this ini­tia­tive. Thrust Air­craft Pri­vate Lim­ited is the first com­pany in In­dia to pro­pose man­u­fac­tur­ing of air­craft as the main goal of a com­pany. They have built a made in In­dia air­craft which is an ex­per­i­men­tal type. Com­pany has in­di­cated that all the said norms in the DGCA pol­icy and AAI di­rected sec­tions/ sched­ules have been fol­lowed while man­u­fac­tur­ing this air­craft.

There is wide scep­ti­cism over the pro­ject. Avi­a­tion ex­perts sug­gest that the Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to sign the MoU seems to be taken in haste as a sim­i­lar op­por­tu­nity should have been given to other en­trepreneurs as the sole pur­pose of ‘Make in In­dia’ is to en­cour­age max­i­mum par­tic­i­pa­tion from young minds. There are set in­ter­na­tional avi­a­tion body guide­lines that need to be fol­lowed be­fore fi­nal­is­ing the prod­uct. The gov­ern­ment seems to have given green sig­nal to the pro­ject with­out a de­tailed anal­y­sis and the process in­volved in this ac­tiv­ity. The time lines at best can be stated as very op­ti­mistic. DGCA LETHARGY. Amol Ya­dav of Thrust Air­craft Pvt Ltd, had ap­plied to reg­is­ter his six-seater plane un­der the ex­per­i­men­tal air­craft cat­e­gory in 2011 with DGCA. In 2014, DGCA ar­bi­trar­ily deleted the en­tire set of reg­u­la­tions mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for any­one build­ing ex­per­i­men­tal air­craft to ap­ply for the same. The new rules al­low only planes man­u­fac­tured by com­pa­nies to fly. One re­vised pro­vi­sion stip­u­lates the max­i­mum weight of a new air­craft should not ex­ceed 1,500 kg, just be­low the 1,600 kg Ya­dav men­tioned in his ap­pli­ca­tion. This is un­usual be­cause in coun­tries that en­cour­age air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing such as the US, there are no weight re­stric­tions. The DGCA also states in sev­eral places that air­craft should be built as per min­i­mum stan­dards, with­out spec­i­fy­ing what those norms are.

The DGCA has been en­trusted with the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of con­tin­u­ing air­wor­thi­ness func­tions re­lated to reg­is­tra­tion of air­craft, cer­tifi­cate of air­wor­thi­ness and ap­proval of or­gan­i­sa­tions en­gaged in man­u­fac­ture and main­te­nance of air­craft. It is stuck in the tra­di­tional op­er­a­tional mould and not wak­ing up to the re­al­ity that in the ‘ Make in In­dia’ there will be play­ers en­ter­ing into the de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of air­craft as pro­to­types or ex­per­i­men­tal air­craft. The DGCA must align its or­gan­i­sa­tion, thought process and skill sets to reg­u­late this par­tic­u­lar ac­tiv­ity. Cen­tre for Mil­i­tary Air­wor­thi­ness and Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (CEMILAC) has been in this field and has very clearly de­fined SOPs and reg­u­la­tions for de­sign, devel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion, flight test­ing of the air­craft and their sys­tems. The de­sign houses, pro­duc­ers and testers are CEMILAC ap­proved to en­sure the safety of de­sign and flight. Ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge in­clud­ing skilled ex­per­tise needs to be proac­tively con­sid­ered by DGCA with CEMILAC for­mally to reg­u­late the de­sign and de­vel­op­men­tal ac­tiv­ity of civil air­craft in In­dia. DGCA role in this ac­tiv­ity re­quires it to have more teeth and an or­gan­i­sa­tional change is nec­es­sary. The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia was plan­ning to re­place the or­gan­i­sa­tion with a Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity (CAA), mod­elled on the lines of the Amer­i­can Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) as an au­ton­o­mous reg­u­la­tory body. This was ex­pected to re­de­fine the reg­u­la­tor’s role and bet­ter equip it to face the chal­lenges of the grow­ing Avi­a­tion sec­tor in the coun­try. How­ever, the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity of In­dia Bill, 2013, though want­ing in many as­pects has been dropped by the present gov­ern­ment. The bill needs to be re­vis­ited and strength­ened to in­clude the de­sign and devel­op­ment of civil air­craft in the coun­try. MAHIN­DRA AERO­SPACE, AIRVAN 10. Mean­while, Mahin­dra Aero­space,10-seater tur­bo­prop plane Airvan 10 pow­ered by Rolls-Royce M250, has been awarded its FAR 23 type cer­tifi­cate from the Aus­tralian Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Author­ity, which was fol­lowed by the US Type Cer­tifi­cate be­ing is­sued by the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion. FAR 23 type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is for small air­craft. The com­pany, Aus­tralia’s Gipps Aero, which is part of di­ver­si­fied Mahin­dra group, has in­di­cated that the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion would help ex­pand its ex­ist­ing mar­kets. The first air­craft is ex­pected to be de­liv­ered in 2018 it­self and there has been a sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for such air­craft in ex­pand­ing gen­eral avi­a­tion tur­bo­prop mar­ket.

Mahin­dra plans to sell planes built by its Aus­tralian fa­cil­ity to Indian cus­tomers and may also con­sider man­u­fac­tur­ing the planes in In­dia if sales pick up. The next step could be to make in In­dia. Why these plane con­tin­ues to be made in Aus­tralia? The stan­dard of CASA (Aus­tralian avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor) is quite proac­tive and CASA has a re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ment with FAA (US avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor) in the US, which has a re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ment with Europe. And there­fore, it makes sense if you have ap­provals in Aus­tralia to con­tinue as­sem­bling in Aus­tralia. Air­craft cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are tough to get and with­out them, it’s dif­fi­cult to find buy­ers. Gipps Aero’s, Airvan is de­signed for sin­gle-pi­lot op­er­a­tion. How­ever, DGCA in­sists that planes above 1,500 kg must have two pi­lots for com­mer­cial flights. There­fore, the cock­pit needs to be re­designed and re-cer­ti­fied if Mahin­dra wants to sell these air­craft in In­dia. For pri­vate use, they can still fly, but they have to change the de­sign and give pro­vi­sion for two pi­lots if they want clear­ance for com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions. They will have to first get ap­proval from CASA and then by DGCA.

Type Ac­cep­tance of Tur­bocharged Airvan 8 has been ac­corded by DGCA on May 19, 2018. Cus­tomers in In­dia can now choose be­tween the 300 HP Airvan 8 NA (Nor­mally As­pi­rated) or 320 HP Airvan 8 TC (Tur­bocharged). Mahin­dra Aero­space had re­ceived a FAR 23 type cer­tifi­cate from Aus­tralia’s Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Author­ity for its Airvan 10 last year. Airvan 10 is the tur­bocharged ver­sion of the Airvan 8. The Airvan 10 is pow­ered by a Rolls-Royce 250 B-17, which pro­duces 450-shaft horse­power. Now since the com­pany’s Airvan 8 has re­ceived type ac­cep­tance

THE CIVIL AIR­CRAFT MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING IN­DUS­TRY MUST AL­WAYS BE SUP­PORTED BY THE GOV­ERN­MENT

cer­tifi­cate from DGCA it will al­low Mahin­dra to make this air­craft op­er­a­tional in In­dia. THE TATA GROUP. The Tata group is keen to make planes in In­dia, ven­tur­ing into an area where Indian com­pa­nies have tra­di­tion­ally not done well. The Tata group has four joint ventures, with Amer­i­can Lock­heed Martin Corp, RUAG Avi­a­tion, Siko­rsky Air­craft Corp and Pi­la­tus Air­craft Ltd. Tata Ad­vanced Sys­tems Lim­ited (TASL) now has the ca­pa­bil­ity to build an en­tire air­craft struc­ture and is mak­ing parts of air­craft and wishes to send an air­craft out of In­dia in a so-called fly-away con­di­tion over the next few years.

With a base in Hy­der­abad, Tata is mak­ing Pi­la­tus PC-12, Dornier 228, the main tail and fuse­lage parts of the Lock­heed Martin C-130J Su­per Her­cules tur­bo­prop mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft, and Sirkosky he­li­copter cab­ins. Tata makes two em­pen­nages (tail assem­bly) for the Lock­heed Martin C-130 as the sole sup­plier to Lock­heed Martin for this em­pen­nage. Tatas have part­nered with Air­bus for the Avro re­place­ment pro­ject. The Min­istry of De­fence is cur­rently pro­cess­ing the case, and if Tata is cleared to make cargo planes, its next step could be pas­sen­ger jets. In the pri­vate sec­tor, Tata is ahead of oth­ers in the avi­a­tion sec­tor and is do­ing more value ad­di­tion and com­plex work. But hav­ing said that, right now no com­pany in the pri­vate sec­tor is ready to make a full plane. The Tata group can al­ways have a tie-up for avion­ics and en­gine like the for­eign air­craft mak­ers and en­ter into the air­craft man­u­fac­ture at some point soon. HIN­DUS­TAN AERO­NAU­TICS LTD, DORNIER 228. The DGCA has cleared Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd (HAL) man­u­fac­tured Dornier 228 to be used for civil­ian flights in re­gional routes. It has been de­vel­oped specif­i­cally to meet the re­quire­ments of util­ity and com­muter trans­port, third level ser­vices and air-taxi op­er­a­tions, coast guard du­ties and mar­itime sur­veil­lance. The non-pres­surised plane has max­i­mum cruise speed of 428 kmph with a range of 700 km and is ca­pa­ble of night fly­ing. Till now, the 19-seater air­craft has only been used by the de­fence forces. It will soon be the first plane to be made in the coun­try for com­mer­cial flights. Af­ter DGCA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, HAL can now sell this plane to air­lines in In­dia for use un­der gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tious UDAN scheme. Some spe­cial in­cen­tives may be given to opera- tors us­ing this plane in In­dia. HAL may also look at selling this plane for civil use in neigh­bour­ing coun­tries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka. HAL’s ‘trans­port air­craft di­vi­sion’ in Kan­pur has com­menced man­u­fac­ture of the civil vari­ant of Dornier 228 air­craft as per the HAL web­site. RELIANCE DE­FENCE. Reliance De­fence had signed an agree­ment with the Ukraine based state cor­po­ra­tion Antonov to co­op­er­ate on dual ver­sion trans­port air­craft for mil­i­tary, para mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial use in In­dia which will man­u­fac­ture 50-80 seater pas­sen­ger air­craft in In­dia. The Plan of ac­tion was a 51:49 joint ven­ture be­tween Reliance and Antonov which would ini­tially start as­sem­bling air­craft with com­pletely knocked down (CKD) units at its aero­space park in Nag­pur, com­ing up at 6,500 crore, and com­plete the in­di­geni­sa­tion over the next 15-20 years. It ap­pears to be a non-starter as of now. SUC­CESS FAC­TORS IN CIVIL AIR­CRAFT MAN­U­FAC­TURE. Brazil and China suc­ceeded in Avi­a­tion Sec­tor only due to ini­tial gov­ern­ment sup­port and pri­vati­sa­tion. In case of China, a fo­cus on in­dige­nous home pro­duc­tion since 1970 with tax­a­tion regime which en­forces air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers to as­sem­ble their air­craft’s in China for their do­mes­tic or­ders. Air­craft assem­bly of large air­craft’s in China gave con­fi­dence and know-how of air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing which en­abled China to launch ARJ21, Comac C919 and MA 60. How­ever, In­dia is placed far be­hind China and Brazil in civil air­craft man­u­fac­ture pri­mar­ily be­cause of be­ing mostly as­so­ci­ated with HAL man­u­fac­tured Air­craft’s like HS 748 / Do 228 un­der li­cence pro­duc­tion and with­out trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy. HAL be­ing gov­ern­ment agency has been mostly as­so­ci­ated with mil­i­tary hard­ware man­u­fac­turer, never had a con­sid­ered ap­proach for do­mes­tic civil avi­a­tion re­quire­ment and with no pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The air­craft in­dus­try must al­ways be sup­ported by the gov­ern­ment. In In­dia a long term vi­sion on how to de­velop this in­dus­try is sadly lack­ing. One the one hand we want HAL to de­velop civil­ian air­craft and (on the other), the Tata group is seek­ing to re­place the Avro. You can’t have large num­ber of peo­ple in this busi­ness, it has to be a con­sol­i­dated coun­try ef­fort and driven by the gov­ern­ment to make the UDAN con­nec­tiv­ity through ‘Make in In­dia’ air­craft.

NAL’s 19-seater im­proved ver­sion, Saras, has com­pleted its sec­ond of 20 air-test pro­files on Fe­bru­ary 23, 2018

(Left) Mahin­dra’s Airvan 10; (right) HAL man­u­fac­tured civil vari­ant of Dornier 228 air­craft.

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