MAY - 2012 ISSUE

 Maiden Flight
 LCA Navy NP-1 aircraft makes history with successful maiden flight

 LCA Navy flew for the first time in April
By Atul Chandra
Bangalore: LCA Naval Prototype 1 (NP1) successfully took to the air for a 20-minute sortie on April 27. The much awaited maiden flight took India closer towards joining a handful of nations who have successfully designed and developed a naval carrier borne fighter aircraft. LCA NP 1 was piloted by Commodore J.A. Maolankar, Chief Test Pilot Navy and co-piloted by Wg Cdr M. Prabhu, Flight Test Engineer of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). A galaxy of dignitaries were on hand to view the historic first flight of the Tejas Navy and included Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, DRDO boss Dr V.K. Saraswat, Vice Admiral Satish Soni, AVSM, NM and Chairman HAL R.K. Tyagi, among others.
The maiden flight of NP-1 was conducted with the landing gear extended and an IAF Tejas as chase plane. After the flight, Commodore Maolankar said that the aircraft flew at a speed of 450 km per hour and a series of tests related to the handling of the aircraft were carried out. “The first flight was primarily to validate the landing of the aircraft and this has been successfully accomplished,” he said. “We still have a long way to go. Today was the first flight and will have to be followed by ramp take offs and the last step will be arrested landing. This is not easy technology,” he asserted. The NP-1 is expected to make a flight with landing gear retracted after a couple more flights.

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