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Saturday, July 9, 2011

LCH TD-2 makes a silent maiden flight; platform incorporates lots of new features

The second technology demonstrator (TD-2) of India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) took to the skies for the first time on June 28 in Bangalore. 
"On June 28, the pilots did some very limited manoeuvres, though not much was experimented. The maiden flight was limited to low-speed testing. They (pilots) will now take the platform and fly over the runway to check the endurance and eventually will expand the full envelope. The designers, engineers and pilots are all delighted by this significant development,” the official said.
“The pilots (Unni Pillai & Hari Nair) have given some observations and we are working on the same. These are development flights and we will address all the teething problems that arise,” the official added
Meanwhile, an insider said that LCH TD-2 boasts of lots of new features as compared to TD-1. “Lots of new systems are onboard. The platform is lighter and we have modified the gearbox. Even the tail-rotor control system is different. The doors for the pilots have been modified for better structural clearance. The cockpit remains the same and we are constantly modifying the chopper based on the inputs from the pilots,” she said.
She also added that the TD-1 has completed 70 hours of flying so far and the TD-3 will be very closer to the production version, incorporating some more changes. “Any new project is a huge challenge for us. With so much stigma attached to the Helicopter Division in the past, we are happy that LCH is gifting us some inspiring moments now. This is years of hard work and we are all happy that finally things are moving,” she said.
When asked why HAL chose to be silent on the first flight of LCH TD-2, an insider said: "We are used to it now." HAL's chopper complex in-charge P.S. Rajan was not available for any comment.
The LCH TD-2 was the main draw at Aero India 2011 wrapped in digital camouflage paint -- a technology mastered by India recently. Incidentally, LCH will be the first Indian Air Force asset to don this new paint scheme. 
Three cheers to all engineers, designers, test pilots and youngsters associated with LCH programme! Good job by teams lead by Srinath, Sampath and Unni!

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