The indigenous Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), designed and developed by HAL to replace the ageing Kiran aircraft fleet of the IAF, re-commenced spin flight testing . The flight was piloted by Gp Capt HV Thakur (Retd.) and Wg Cdr P Awasthi (Retd.) , Senior Test Pilots at HAL Flight Test Operations, Bengaluru.
The IJT had already been tested to its full envelope in terms of speed, altitude and load factor (‘g’ envelope) and has also been integrated with drop tanks as well as bombs. Spin Testing had come to a stalemate after the initial stall and spin tests threw up unpredictable behaviour and inadequacies in recovery leading to a crash in April 2011. Subsequently the aircraft was redesigned by moving the vertical tail aft and extending the rudder surface. These changes required extensive redesign of the rear fuselage and the rudder. The changes have been incorporated in two prototype aircraft with the involvement and clearance from certification agencies at every stage. Post modification, the two aircraft underwent significant flight tests to assess the general handling with the new configuration of fin and rudder. These aircraft have now been incorporated with the necessary safety devices (Anti-Spin Parachute Systems). During the first flight, initially the aircraft was taken through one turn spin to the left and right hand sides to test the spin characteristics.
The testing will be gradually progressed to assess the behaviour of the aircraft upto six turn spins to either side to meet the targeted requirement.
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