India on Wednesday pinned an inspiring page to its chopper chapter when Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) successfully conducted the maiden test flight of the third technology demonstrator (TD-3) of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). Piloted by Wg Cdr Unni Pillai (Retd), HAL's Chief Test Pilot (CTP), Rotary Wing (RW) and ably assisted by Gp Capt Hari Nair (Retd), Deputy CTP (RW), the 20-minute maiden outing of LCH TD-3 was a flawless affair. The successful flight is a huge morale-booster to HAL, as the TD-3 project is being funded (Rs 80 crore) completely by the company, as part of the ‘bold strategy by the Board' to fast-track the programme. HAL has also set aside Rs 126 crore for LCH TD-4, which is expected to fly soon.
The LCH TD3's flight had its own share of suspense with the Bengaluru weather presenting a gloomy picture all through Tuesday. However, not-withstanding a light drizzle, the pilots took off the LCH TD3 from HAL's Helicopter Division and headed towards the Hoskote segment with a Dhruv chopper as the chase. The confidence of the pilots were evident when they did a low fly-past over the Helicopter Complex before touching down completing all flight parameters as prescribed during the pre-flight briefing session. "Every test point was done exactly with nothing unusual noticed during the flight. We are confident that the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) will now be achieved in September 2015, three months ahead of the deadline," HAL Chairman R K Tyagi told OneIndia.
[RotorPlus is a OneIndia series focusing on various home-grown helicopter programmes
undertaken by HAL. The series will not be appearing one after another.]
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