Light utility copter clears tests in Himalayas
Bengaluru: The prototype of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) made Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) cleared the all-weather tests by demonstrating its high-altitude capabilities in hot and cold conditions over the Himalayas recently, said the state-run defence behemoth on Thursday.
“The LUH has complied with all the requirements of the users, including hot and high-altitude testing in hot and cold conditions over the Himalayas for operational clearance certification,” said HAL Chairman R. Madhavan in a statement here.
The city-based company’s flight test team led by Wing Commanders (retired) Unni Pillai, Anil Bhambani and A. Jena and Group Captains (retired) Pupinder Singh and V. Panwar conducted the tests over 10 days from August 24 to September 2.
Indian Air Force (IAF) Group Captain R. Dubey and Lt Col R. Grewal of the Indian Army also participate in the aerial trials.
“A test plan was executed at Leh (3,300 metres above the ground level) in minus 32 degree Celsius as per the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) for envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities,” said Madhavan on the occasion.
The chopper took off from Leh in Ladakh on August 24 and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5,000 metres followed by another sortie from forward helipad at 5,500 metres above the ground level at ISA plus 27 degree Celsius.
“Though the extreme weather conditions have imposed flight restrictions on all other civil and military aircraft, LUH flights were unhindered as it is designed for such operations,” claimed Madhavan.
The chopper flew 3,000 km for three days from Bengaluru to Leh with transit stop-over many civil and military airfields.
“The LUH showed high reliability without service support during its ferry to Leh and trials at high altitude,” asserted Madhavan.
The composite trials team included designers, the flight test crew, of HAL, IAF and the Army.
Representatives of military and civil aviation regulators Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and Office of Regional Director of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (ORDAQA) witnessed the trials for certification requirements.
The LUH completed hot weather trials at Nagpur in 2018, cold weather trials at Leh in 2019 and sea level trials at Chennai in 2018 and at Puducherry in 2019.