NAL Saras : Updates & Discussions

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Upgraded Saras PT1N all set for maiden flight in January

Bengaluru: National Aeronautics Laboratories (NAL), a frontline wing under Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) here, is ready to put the upgraded prototype of Saras on its maiden flight.

The Saras PT1N (New), a 14-seater passenger plane, is expected to have its first flight after completing one more high speed taxi trial (HSTT).

Military sources confirm to Mathrubhumi that the first flight will be about 20-25 minutes.

Two Test Pilots and one Flight Test Engineer, who are empanelled to the PT1N project from Indian Air Force’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), will be onboard the maiden mission.

The first flight could be any time during the first/second week of January 2018.

What separates the PT1N now from the maiden flight are a SRB (Safety Review Board) and one final HSTT.

A young team of around 40 scientists and engineers, with an average age of 40 years, have been toiling hard for the last nine months to ensure Saras does what it is meant to be doing -- flying.

The project had virtually hit a dead end after the March 2009 crash of PT-2 martyring three ASTE crew onboard. The subsequent crash probe, lack of confidence among users, want of funds and political will further dented the project.

The aircraft was grounded for close to three years (2013-2016) barring namesake EGRs to keep the power-plant in good shape.

The resurgence of Saras project as PT1N has now given hope for India’s foray into making 14/19-seater passenger turboprops, with China, Russia, Poland, Indonesia and United States have already gone some distance.

In the new avatar as PT1N, it boasts of many upgraded features, following a gap analysis undertaken last year.

A close look at what PT1N looks like

* The control forces have been significantly reduced.

* The nacelle design (for engine mount) has been made optimal.

* Environmental control systems, cabin pressurization systems have been modified.

* Automatic avionics stall warning system included.

* Linear flap track and trim taps on elevator modified.

* Rudder area enhanced for better controllability.

* Flight test instrumentation modified.

* Electrical systems modified to reduce voltage losses.

* Air data system has been provided with the nose boom for redundancy.

Apart from above modification on the aircraft, the following additional safety measures have also been ensured by the team.

* Complete borosopic inspection of the aircraft to eliminate any doubts about corrosion.

* Computer-based failure analysis of engine, elevator jamming and ailerons power adequacy.

* Simulator upgraded to the high-fidelity.

The NAL-ASTE combine’s primary objective with PT-1N is to evaluate all systems, including design and performance parameters. The inputs collected from PT1N’s initial flights (expected to be around 20-30 in the next six months), will be then used to freeze the design, paving way for the production version.

India’s 19-seater dream will be Saras Mk-2

PT-IN flight data will inspire NAL to prepare the DPR (detail project report) for India’s much-awaited 19-seater passenger plane – Saras Mk2.

The Saras Mk2 will have additional five more seats and a toilet as compared to the PT1N. It will also have gen-next avionics and glass cockpit, autopilot and other features any modern passenger turboprop could boast off.

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The Saras Mk2 with reduced weight (around 700 kg compared to PT1N) will have an AUW (all up-weight) of roughly around 7.4 to 7.5 ton and will likely to run on MRF tyres.

Both military and passenger platforms

Sources confirm that NAL plans to have both military and passenger version for the 19-seater. They hope to encash on the CEMILAC-DGCA’s certification model used in ALH, to save time.

As of now, two production variants are planned while the third one will be a fatigue test specimen (FTS) – all estimated to costing around Rs 700 crore.

In the last one year, NAL put some of its best workforce behind the Saras project with many slogging it out day and night.

Insiders say only less than Rs 5 core has been spent in the last one year for Saras PT-IN, thanks to lean management philosophy, optimum usage of resources and constant monitoring.

With CSIR backing the project after some hiccups, Saras is sure to be India’s star in 2018 with IAF offering all support to the desi mission once again. CSIR DG Dr Girish Sahni’s push for the Saras PT1N/19-seater, and the Udan mantra of Govt of India also have come as a blessing for team NAL.

Subject to the Cabinet Committee on Security approval, the detail design of the first limited series production (LSP) variant of Saras-Mk-2 should begin in 2019 followed by certification and demonstration flights by 2021.

In short, in three years NAL will have its handful with Saras once again back on the radar.

Upgraded Saras PT1N all set for maiden flight in January
 
We already own the Dornier 228 line up and HAL has already test flown an 19 seat civilian version of it. I think we should let HAL work/expand on Dorner set up for small flights and let NAL develop SARAS on more than 50-80 seat version.
 
Frankly , I don't understand the need for duplication. Why are both these aircraft 19 seaters ? Why didn't we move on to develop 30-40 seaters ? Could anybody in the know bother explaining ?

Donrnier is an outdated design. 5he pusherprop saras is way more fuel efficient along with composite light weight
 
Donrnier is an outdated design. 5he pusherprop saras is way more fuel efficient along with composite light weight
That may be one of the reasons though I suspect there are other reasons too.

P.S . - why are your answers so incoherent? Why do you type in a hurry? You must be a very impulsive and restless character . All this at this age doesn't augur well , uncle .
 
Frankly , I don't understand the need for duplication. Why are both these aircraft 19 seaters ? Why didn't we move on to develop 30-40 seaters ? Could anybody in the know bother explaining ?
Because Do-228 is not an indian aircraft but a license production. In order to make a viable civil aerospace industry, you need to design and develop aircrafts in house and produce them in scale.

In this case, 19 seater is just an extended version of a proven design. It gives continuity for the team and low cost/low risk development cycle. Compared to the Do 228 version under production the new Saras will have technically advanced avionics which would have significant export potential.
 
@Ashwin @Milspec i believe there are indigenous engine projects that can replace the Pratt and Whitney right?
Not sure whats in development, We do have our trusted 1100 Hp garret TPE331 , but I am sure that NAL will write it in their reqs for a 1200hp to snub our guys. I personally do not care much about this system, I don't see the utility or the intended application of the system.
 
Not sure whats in development, We do have our trusted 1100 Hp garret TPE331 , but I am sure that NAL will write it in their reqs for a 1200hp to snub our guys. I personally do not care much about this system, I don't see the utility or the intended application of the system.
I believe the idea was that tier 2 airport connectivity is best served with this class. Probably right coz most of those airports are running empty now and even an atr looks like an overkill there
 
Because Do-228 is not an indian aircraft but a license production. In order to make a viable civil aerospace industry, you need to design and develop aircrafts in house and produce them in scale.

In this case, 19 seater is just an extended version of a proven design. It gives continuity for the team and low cost/low risk development cycle. Compared to the Do 228 version under production the new Saras will have technically advanced avionics which would have significant export potential.

Actually we own the DO228 line up now. We have bought the production set up. HAL is now free to sell them to any third nations (selling it for sometime) without restrictions and fee. HAL has upgraded the DO with indigenous replacements.

SARAS in all worth is an duplication of effort. Maybe NAL can sell it to private clients to produce it. Mahindra is working on its own 20 seater. The private pilot guy who designed an 6 seater and waited for approval for 5 years is another designing an 19 seater. What we need now is an aircraft 50-80 seater and hopefully with an indigenous engine.
 
Actually we own the DO228 line up now. We have bought the production set up. HAL is now free to sell them to any third nations (selling it for sometime) without restrictions and fee. HAL has upgraded the DO with indigenous replacements.

SARAS in all worth is an duplication of effort. Maybe NAL can sell it to private clients to produce it. Mahindra is working on its own 20 seater. The private pilot guy who designed an 6 seater and waited for approval for 5 years is another designing an 19 seater. What we need now is an aircraft 50-80 seater and hopefully with an indigenous engine.
So, in your opinion, we shouldn't be making (designing) things when there are options to locally produce similar foreign stuff?

But again why are you supporting Mahindra design ? That would make it third aircraft in the category. At least we have ready to fly prototypes of Saras. Be consistent with your arguments.
 
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So, in your opinion, we shouldn't be making (designing) things when there are options to locally produce similar foreign stuff?

But again why are you supporting Mahindra design ? That would make it third aircraft in the category. At least we have ready to fly prototypes of Saras. Be consistent with your arguments.

I am not supporting Mahindra. U can re-read my post again. Its just the market will have a glut of 19 seaters seeing so many companies work on it. Mahindra Aerospace through its subsidiary company has been selling 10 seaters for a long time and 19 seater design is almost ready.
Do228 has already flown. Nearly everything is produced in India. New DO228 is more have indigenous avionics for the matter that its not exactly foreign anymore.
Another Indian company is going to build it.
Saras would have made sense 10 years back. Even mk1 is just 14 seater. Mk2 is designed to be 19 seater. By the time NAL does its testing we would be having Do228 certified /flying and most probably Mahindra Airvan 18 will be flying/ready. It would be better for NAL to build a prototype of mk2 and then jump to 50-80 seater version or atleast 40 seater version depending upon the market requirements.

Now I am not even talking about the Another company testing it, ATR even might start a factory in India or any other foreign competitor coming in to start a plant here. It would be great for NAL to plan well in advance.
 
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I am not supporting Mahindra. U can re-read my post again. Its just the market will have a glut of 19 seaters seeing so many companies work on it. Mahindra Aerospace through its subsidiary company has been selling 10 seaters for a long time and 19 seater design is almost ready.
Do228 has already flown.
Another Indian company is going to build it.
Saras would have made sense 10 years back. Even mk1 is just 14 seater. Mk2 is designed to be 19 seater. By the time NAL does its testing we would be having Do228 certified /flying and most probably Mahindra Airvan 18 will be flying/ready. It would be better for NAL to build a prototype of mk2 and then jump to 50-80 seater version or atleast 40 seater version depending upon the market requirements.

Now I am not even talking about the Another company testing it, ATR even might start a factory in India or any other foreign competitor coming in to start a plant here. It would be great for NAL to plan well in advance.
Indian civil aviation market is still in its nascent stage. Its going to see exponential growth in coming decades. There is a huge market for low-cost planes.

Mahindra is beginning to produce Airvan 10 and Airvan 18 don't even exist now. You are betting on a nonexistent australian designed product and saying you dont support them?!. The question remains, why do we need this mahindra product when Do 228 exist?

Civil aviation is not like military. A proven design won't go outdated that fast. This Do-228 design is four decades old. My favorite Let L-410 design is close to 50 year old, still in production. This Saras design may outlive us too. Just take a look at your argument, you are saying 40-year-old design is good enough and Saras mk2 design would be 'outdated' in the same breath.

The point of projects like this is to develop an aerospace industry from scratch. Public investment is necessary for it.


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Indian civil aviation market is still in its nascent stage. Its going to see exponential growth in coming decades. There is a huge market for low-cost planes.

Mahindra is beginning to produce Airvan 10 and Airvan 18 don't even exist now. You are betting on a nonexistent australian designed product and saying you dont support them?!. The question remains, why do we need this mahindra product when Do 228 exist?

Civil aviation is not like military. A proven design won't go outdated that fast. This Do-228 design is four decades old. My favorite Let L-410 design is close to 50 year old, still in production. This Saras design may outlive us too. Just take a look at your argument, you are saying 40-year-old design is good enough and Saras mk2 design would be 'outdated' in the same breath.

The point of projects like this is to develop an aerospace industry from scratch. Public investment is necessary for it.


L410ng-672x372.jpg

Airvan 18 isnt flying. Just mentioned its in final stages of design. Even that name isnt confirmed. You cannot stop a private company from producing stuffs. But when 2 govt agencies using tax payers money are developing same aircrafts with same requirements, then yes, it creates a problem.
What I feel is that there is a repeatability effort going on. I dont know if SARAS will outlive me. But Dornier has outlived many of our previous gen proving its a stable design and good enough to develop upon it. U own Dornier line up. Do changes, make it airworthy, use Indian components and manufacture it.

SARAS, on the other hand can be used for testing avionics on the PT1N and can be used as a test bed. NAL engineers can concentrate on bigger ac is my POV. Its still a prototype built around 2005/07, unused from 2009, and may or may not be successful. Even if its successful it can be a commercial failure (Same goes for Do228 but has first mover advantage and will be in production by the time SARAS mk2 prototype debuts). One thing SARAS can prove is reliability of our ac design and control/avionics systems designed from scratch. Which can be again validated for a new versions of SARAS ac.
 
Personally, i don't like turboprop engine hope once it's successful NAL will use turbojet engine similar to Embraer Legacy 600.
very similar wing design...

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