Technical snag cuts short indigenous chopper’s flight

February 10th, 2011 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS  

By N.C. Bipindra
Bangalore, Feb 10 (IANS) A technical snag Thursday forced India’s indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH) to cut short its flying display at the AeroIndia air show soon after it took off from the Yelahanka air base, causing a major embarrassment for its developers.Within minutes after the LCH took off from the base to display its capabilities as a futuristic potent weapon platform of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the pilot reported a technical snag in the chopper’s rotors and was immediately asked to land, a defence ministry official told IANS.

The chopper, one of government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s proudest in-house products, was to fly on all five days of the international air show.

But after the successful, impressive first day’s display, the second day turned out to be damp squib for the chopper.

An IAF officer said the LCH pilot was asked to land the aircraft immediately in view of the flight safety considerations as large numbers of the general public were watching the flying display.

Confirming the incident, a HAL official involved with the LCH project said the pilot had complained of an unusual noise in the chopper just a few minutes after take off.

“The noise could be because of a Su-30 fighter jet taking off from the
nearby runway. Anyway, the pilot was told to land the chopper. The data recorders of the helicopters were sent for a replay of the flight at HAL’s facility in the city,” he said.

Despite the setback, the LCH will be flying during the air show on Friday, he added.

A multi-role combat chopper, the LCH is a derivative of the indigenous advanced light helicopter (ALH) and is meant for use by both IAF and the army.

HAL had begun work on the LCH in 2006 and it first flew on March 29 last year.

During AeroIndia 2007, India’s indigenous intermediate jet trainer (IJT) had met with an accident while taking off from Yelahanka.

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