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Upgraded SARAS transport aircraft makes maiden flight

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BENGALURU (PTI): The new upgraded version of SARAS, the indigenous transport aircraft developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory, "successfully" made its maiden flight in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

SARAS PT1N, a 14-seater passenger aircraft, is an upgraded version of the plane, after the second prototype of SARAS had crashed during a test flight killing all the three crew members on board, on the outskirts of the city near Bidadi in March 2009.

The aircraft took off at about 11 am from HAL airport and flew for about 40 minutes at the maximum height of 8500 feet at the speed of 145 knots.

"All the system parameters are found normal," an official release said, describing it as a "text book flight."

Designed and developed by CSIR-NAL, a frontline aerospace research laboratory, the flight 'SARAS PT1N' was commanded by Wg Cdr U P Singh, Group Captain R V Panicker and Group Capt K P Bhat from IAF-Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), the release said.

The 'chase aircraft' (KIRAN) was piloted by Gp Capt Badrish and telemetry commanded by Gp Capt Naraynen, Wg Cdr Pandey and Wg Cdr R Sridhar (Retd), it said.

The aircraft is seen as culmination of the efforts of team CSIR-NAL, IAF-ASTE, Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), HAL and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

The primary objective is to evaluate the system performance in about 20 flights and the data collected from this would be used to freeze the design of production version aircraft, the release said.

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research said the production version aircraft will be of 19-seat capacity and will undergo civil/military certification.

The first prototype of the plane had made its first flight in May 2004.

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