Mumbai: A team of engineers is giving shape to what promises to be India’s first 19-seater indigenous passenger aircraft at a 3,000-sq feet terrace in Mumbai’s Borivili suburb, which has become a bustle of activity. Amol Yadav, a pilot with a private airline, is leading the initiative.
TAC 005, as the aircraft is called, will be ready for flight in the next four months, and is likely to give shape to India’s dream of a homegrown passenger aircraft.
Yadav said that he began work on the 19-seater aircraft to solve India’s regional connectivity issues. “In spite of having a number of private airlines, we are poor in regional connectivity. The smallest aircraft that private airlines in India have are 70-seater, and they don’t find it cost-effective to fly them to smaller cities as they are never full.”
Yadav’s 19-seater aircraft is likely to change that situation by giving airlines and people an option of flying in a smaller plane. India hasn’t been able to build its own passenger aircraft even 70 years after independence. The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) had tried to build Saras, a 14-seater aircraft, but the plan had to be abandoned after the prototype crashed in 2009. NAL has recently revived the program.
The structure of the twin-engine turbo prop built by Yadav — ET had exclusive access to the aircraft — is ready and will be powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine.