LCH official maiden flight in Bangalore on May 23. Photo: A.R. Jose
By Anantha Krishnan M. | Aviation Week
Bangalore, India | May 24, 2010
The official first flight of India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) went ahead as planned at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport in Bengaluru on May 23. Though the event was a low-key affair - as a mark of respect to those killed in the Air India Express crash at Mangalore - and India’s Defense Minister, A.K. Antony, his deputy and the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief all skipped the event owing to the airliner tragedy.
HAL’s Chief Test Pilot Unni Pillai, who flew the chopper, told AVIATION WEEK soon after the touchdown that it was the best rotor platform he had ever flown. “The platform is stable and extremely comfortable. Its handling qualities can be a delight to any pilot. This machine is going to be the best in its class for high-altitude operations,” he said. LCH had close to 20 informal flights prior to Sunday’s flight.
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