New prototype of Saras expected to fly by Feb end: NAL chief

Bangalore: The 14-seater transport aircraft Saras-Prototype I New (PT1N), being developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) here, is expected to fly by this month-end, a top NAL official said on Tuesday.

"We expect that the Saras PT1N will fly by the end of February, 2013," NAL Director Shyam Chetty told PTI here on the sidelines of the Aero India Seminar.

He said Saras PT1 was being upgraded to PT1N standard which includes modified stubwing and rear fuselage, larger area rudder, new nacelle and an autopilot.

It will be powered by 2 x 1200 SHP PT6A-67A engines, he said adding CEMILAC and DGAQA, which have joined the SARAS programme about a year ago, are providing very good regulatory support in this connection.

The work on weight optimised version of Saras (PT3) will be resumed soon. The composite components like the wing, HT, VT are getting ready and we are confident that the PT3 aircraft will fly by the last quarter of this year, Chetty said.

Replying to a query, Chetty said NAL has quite a few joint collaborations with defence laboratories, PSUs, and international institutes and organisations.

Leading aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, which have visited NAL, have expressed keen interest in having a joint collaboration on Extension of Aero-database beyond Normal Flight Envelope with De Montfort University, UK, he said.

He also said NAL would soon sign an MoU with HAL in which non-linear flight dynamics modelling and simulation is proposed as an area of important work.