Monday, 1 April 2013

Quick, ‘flawless’ Tejas LSP-8 First flight

After having received the Flight Readiness Review Board’s (FRRB) clearance for the flight, the most advanced edition of India’s Light Combat Aircraft’s (LCA)—Tejas—limited series production-8 (LSP-8) completed its maiden flight here on Sunday.
The flight happened without the aircraft having completed “high-speed taxi trials,” which is considered mandatory. Officials, however, maintain that with the confidence gained by the flight crew and the certifying agencies during the build and ground checks, a decision was taken to proceed with the first flight without going through a separate high speed taxi trial.
Sources point out that the hurried flight,  skipping the high-speed taxi trial, could have been conceived in the backdrop of Defence Minister A K Antony recently telling HAL not to extend the final operational clearance for Tejas.
The LSP-8, along with LSP-7 are the configurations marked for the Initial Operational Clearance-2 (IOC-2). LSP-8 is the last aircraft in the Limited Series Production programme. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman R K Tyagi said “the performance of the aircraft, which was flown covering a flight envelop at supersonic speeds at an angle of attack of 20 degree, was flawless.”
With this, the Initial Operational Clearance-2 (IOC-2) for the aircraft can be expected soon, sources said. Air Cmde K A Muthana, Programme Director (Flight Test), piloted the aircraft with a build standard akin to the IOC standard.
“It underwent a series of rigorous checks by the certifying and inspecting agencies during the last fortnight with a few taxi checks to assess the performance,” an HAL official said.
The flight clearance was accorded after ensuring that all the aircraft systems were functioning satisfactorily on ground.
Aircraft systems related to fuel, environment condition, electrical and avionics which had undergone a series of modifications based on feedback from earlier aircraft also functioned well.

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