India’s ambitious project NAL Saras finally took off in the skies again on Wednesday. Test pilots from Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) undertook the prototype into skies for nearly 40 minutes.
The upgraded prototype of Saras (PT-1N) was flown by Wg Cdr U P Singh and Group Captain B Panicker from HAL Airport and flew over Bengaluru. It was a successful trial. The last time it flew in 2009, but crashed near the Bengaluru outskirt killing three test pilots onboard. This resulted in the stalling of the program for some time.
The NAL Saras is a 14 seater light aircraft whose name is derived from Indian crane Saras. It is being developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory. The program was started in 1990 in collaboration with Russian Myasischev Design Bureau, but the company later backed out due to the falling of USSR. As a result, NAL undertook the whole project alone.