drone certificationHAL rechristens made-in-India Dornier 228 as Hindustan 228,; starts work on hybrid electric flying machines

October 5, 2021by helo-10

NEW DELHI: Hybrid electric flying machines, high payload drones, light utility helicopter (LUH) and high altitude pseudo satellites (HAPS) could soon increase state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) presence in civil aviation space.
Its made-in-India Dornier 228, which Alliance Air will use for regional flights in Arunachal Pradesh, is being rechristened as Hindustan 228 and could soon be flying in foreign skies also with that name as queries for the same have come from buyers from Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the aerospace behemoth’s CMD, R Madhavan, told TOI Tuesday.
“We have started the process of getting European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for our 8-seater (2 pilots, six passengers) LUH. Four prototypes of this helicopter are already flying for user evaluation (on the defence side) and we are expecting an order from the defence side soon. Once EASA certification comes after a lengthy process, this chopper will be made in India for civil use not just in India but abroad too,” Madhavan said. On the civil side, HAL sees scope for this chopper for purposes like highway assistance and medical evacuations as its spacious cabin can have up to six stretchers.
HAL has started work on drones with payloads of over 8 kg. “We are looking at big drones, including those that can carry payloads of 200 and 2,000 kg. Work is on two categories — medium-altitude, long-endurance (Male) and high altitude, long-endurance (Hale). For the 2,000 kg payload drone, we have tied up with Israel’s Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop Ltd. These drones will also be offered to civil uses like e-commerce deliveries,” he said.
The aerospace major is currently exploring technologies for hybrid-electric propulsion systems. “We are looking at hybrid transmission drives. Once we zero on a suitable technology, we will examine whether it should be used on a plane or chopper. This is work in progress, but that work is on,” he said.
And finally, HAL is also going to offer its high altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS) for civil use like disaster management and geological surveys. “This is going to be a fully electric-powered, 120-metre-long pseudo satellite. It will reach its maximum altitude of 70,000 metres (well above commercial airlines flying zone) in a day, stay there geostationary, meaning not circumnavigate the earth but stay around an arc, for three months and then return to earth. Its uses are going to be immense,” Madhavan said.
HAL is getting queries from operators in India and abroad for the Dornier-nee-Hindustan 228. “Alliance Air will start using two of these planes in Arunachal. We are getting queries from Sri Lanka and the Philippines from commercial operators. Mauritius is looking at its for its police. This 19-seater aircraft (not pressurised but AC) can be reconfigured to have a lav by removing three seats if the operator wants,” he said.

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