24 January, 2021

Finally, To Make A Plane And Fly It

An upgraded Dornier can be India’s first indigenous light civil transport aircraft. The decks are clearing.

Dornier has got DGCA’s commercial flight certification
Photograph by Vedant Agarwal/jetphotos.net
Finally, To Make A Plane And Fly It

Back in the 1980s, the diminutive Dornier 228 (Do-228) was part of a fleet that connected some remote corners of the cou­ntry. Now, three decades later—and after a couple of ambitious homegrown civilian aircraft projects—the Dornier can possibly lay claim to be the first light transport aircraft for civ­ilian use that will be fully manufactured in India. That’s because the aircraft recently received a type certification from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which would allow it to resume civilian duties. It’s a second innings of sorts for the 19-sea­ter airplane manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

Ever since Vayudoot—the feeder airline service started in 1981 when today’s bustling small towns were actually rem­ote outbacks—shut down in the mid-1990s, the Do-228 has mostly been a military aircraft in India apart from flying with the Coast Guard. With the DGCA certification—the standards globally for civilian aircraft are tougher than military aircraft—the Dornier can enter the...



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