Government’s push for regional air connectivity is providing opportunities for exploitation of the latent potential across the sector. One of the major success stories in this regard is conversion of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Do-228-201 multi-purpose light transport aircraft, operational with Indian armed forces, into a 19 seater turbo prop commuter aircraft. The aircraft received its type certification by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 2017.
UDAN-Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which was launched as part of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, which envisions enhancing regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism in which airlines bid for seat subsidies.
HAL believes that Do-228-201 ‘Upgraded’(civil) is one of the most suitable aircraft for this scheme as it has a proven record of operation from more than 100 regional airports across the length and breadth of the Country.
Till date, HAL has produced more than 138 DO-228 aircraft which are operational with various operators within the country and abroad. The Upgraded turbo prop, powered by TPE-331-10, and five bladed composite propellers for enhanced hot and high performance and reduced cabin noise. Standard avionics are complemented with autopilot, weather radar as well as other customer desired equipment fit. HAL is planning to introduce glass cockpit in the aircraft.
DO-228 is operational with Indian Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy in various configuration like commuter, VIP transport, search and rescue, maritime surveillance, airport calibration, troop transport, air ambulance, para jump, para drop, observer training. Keeping with the military version, the civil Dornier can also configure, within one hour, into 19 seater to air ambulance or any other seat configuration, providing much required flexibility to its operators.
Some of the key features of the aircraft are economical fuel consumption of 245 kg/hr and cruise speed of 370 kmph. It needs 576 metres for landing and 762 metres for landing. The total payload carrying capacity is to the tune of 1.9 tonne. The high wing design of aircraft permits it to operate from semi prepared runways, the aircraft can take off and land from all the regional airports in India.
The ‘Upgraded’ version is equipped with new high powered engine TPE-331-10 GP and 5 bladed composite propellers for enhanced hot and high performance and reduced cabin noise. Standard avionics are complemented with autopilot, weather radar as well as other customer desired equipment fit.
HAL feels that the in-house capability to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities to the operators at Kanpur guarantees lifetime support for maintenance, spares, tools and testers, documentation, training as well as modification, upgrades and customisation to prospective customers all under one roof within the country.
Unlike other aircrafts of its class, HAL plans to provide DO-228 with flush toilet facility. Along with 19 passengers, the standard civil aircraft will carry 120 kg in front loading area and 210 kg in rear loading area. In its air ambulance configuration it is expected to carry two stretchers with additional seats for paramedic staff. In its executive transport version the aircraft will have 11 deluxe seats and working tables and other amenities for passengers. HAL is holding discussion with few customers for sale of this aircraft.