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Nepal tests its first ultra aircraft 'Danfe'

File photo of assembling of 'Danfe' – Nepal's ultra light aircraft. Official site

KATHMANDU (BNS): It might have been in air only for a minute, but for Nepal, test flight of its first home-made ultra light aircraft has come as a momentous achievement.

A bunch of students had joined hands to build 'Danfe', the maiden ultra light aircraft of the Himalayan nation. It was flown by Russian pilot Alexander Maximov on its maiden flight at Pokhara airport in western Nepal on Saturday.

The moment of glory came when the aircraft flew 15 feet off the ground after cruising in the runway for 95.32 meters at a speed of 73.2 km/ph. The feat could be compared only to the Wright Brothers' first famous flight more than 100 years ago that changed the case of the world's aviation industry.

A team from Pulchowck Engineering Campus, led by Bikash Parajuli, spent several hours and around a $12500 to create Danfe, named after Nepal's national bird. Once fully tested, the aircraft, powered by an Austrian engine, will fly up to 6,000 ft at 100 km/ph, carrying a fuel of 50 liters sufficient for two hours of flying.

The test flight coincided with the International Civil Aviation Day.

Upbeat over the development, the Nepalese government sent environment and technology minister Ganesh Shah to witness the flight at Pokhara. The minister felicitated the young scientists and said that the government would bear the expenses incurred while designing and developing the plane. A fund of Rs 10 million would also be allocated for research and development in the field of science and technology, Shah said.

Reacting over the plane’s successful test, an elated Parajuli said, “I was ecstatic when Danfe received the permit for test flight,” adding his team would now focus on developing an improved version of the aircraft. “The aircraft was built following the Barnauli principle. Its engine was built as per the Austrian technology,” Parajuli was quotes as saying by Nepalese newspaper ‘The Himalayan Times’.

Danfe is a two-seated aircraft with a total load capacity of 400kg (including 115kg payload) and can be used for adventurous flight and or for air sports. Its wing span is of 10m with a wing area of 14 sq m. The engine is Rotex 582; 65 HP and the propeller used is Bolly-3 Bladed Composite Groung Adjustment with a speed of 2,387 rpm (revolution per minute)@6600 Enging rpm.

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