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India to test fly indigenously developed aircraft by 2012

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BANGALORE (PTI): The five-seater civilian aircraft, NM-5, jointly developed by India's Mahindra Aerospace and National Aerospace Limited (NAL) is expected to be test-flown by mid 2012.

"We have already finished the design part and NM-5 is expected to be test-flown by mid 2012," Mahindra Systech President Hemant Luthra told reporters here.

Mahindra Systech is the holding company of Mahindra Aerospace.

The NM5 is India's first indigenously developed civilian aircraft by a private entity.

NM-5 is a multi-role and multi-mission aircraft capable of taking off and landing on unpaved runways and can be used for air taxi, charter operation, ferrying people and cargo services.

The company is building two prototypes - one at NAL and the second at the facility of Gippsland Aeronautics of Australia, now part of Mahindra Aerospace.

"The company aims to get the type certificate from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India which will be followed by a certification from civil aviation Australian regulator, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)," Luthra said.

Mahindra Aerospace, which recently acquired two Australian firms, is working on manufacturing eight-and 10-seater aircraft - GA8 and GA10 - at its Bangalore facility, he said.

Luthra also said Mahindra is keen to export these planes to China and other countries.

"China has shown strong interest in our planes. As many as 100 small airports in China have grassy runways and our planes are suitable for those conditions," he said.

While Mahindra Aerospace is expanding its sales worldwide, the company hasn't been able to sell even a single aircraft in the Indian market.

Existing Indian civil aviation rules do not allow single engine planes with more than five seats to be used for commercial air transport purposes.

"Australia, Europe, the US and China don't have a problem with this plane," Luthra said, stressing that the government must review the policy.

Luthra said he would be disappointed if total volumes did not touch 75-100 planes a year in the next five years.

The company would commission its aircraft component manufacturing facility in Bangalore by June 2012 and is also looking for technology partners in the US and Europe.

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India  Aircraft  Mahindra  NAL  
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