HAL to train Nigerian army pilots on Chetak Helicopter

Radhika Bansal

12 Apr 2022

On Monday, April 11, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) announced that it had signed a contract with the Nigerian Army to provide Phase-II flying training on the Chetak Helicopter to six Nigerian Army Aviation officers.

The Bengaluru-based company said in a statement that this is the continuation of a contract signed in April 2021 for the provision of Phase-I flying training to six Nigerian Army Aviation officers, which was completed successfully in December 2021.


The Phase-II flying training on Chetak Helicopter is scheduled to commence on Monday and is planned to be completed by December 2022.

As part of the training, 70 hours of flying training would be imparted for each Nigerian Army Aviation Officer, it was stated.

HAL to train Nigerian army pilots on Chetak Helicopter

The contract was signed by General Manager, HAL Helicopter Division, B K Tripathy and Defence Adviser, High Commission of Nigeria in India, Commodore Anthony Victor Kujoh, at a programme held at Helicopter Division here.

Tripathy said the platforms such as the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), with a wide range of capabilities, can be of great strength for the Nigerian Army.

Nigeria would not only like to further enhance the business relationship with HAL for training but also towards asset acquisition, said Cmdre Kujoh.

Read next

IndiGo emerged as the world’s sixth-largest carrier by passenger volume for March

Radhika Bansal

12 Apr 2022

India’s low-cost airline IndiGo has emerged as the world’s sixth-largest carrier by passenger volume for March, according to the UK-based Official Airline Guide (OAG).

The airline carried more than 2.02 million passengers in the month, the most by any Asian carrier, according to statistics collected till March 28.

IndiGo was also named the world's fastest-growing airline by OAG, with a 41.3% growth in frequency in March. The airline also ranked among the top 10 airlines in the world by seat capacity for March.

The OAG data includes airport and route capacity as well as a list of the 20 largest worldwide airlines by flights based on monthly data. IndiGo is the only airline from India to appear on this list.

“It is exciting to see IndiGo among the top airlines in the world. It also is a moment of pride for India, and a strong indicator that the nation is bouncing back strongly from the pandemic. With the easing of restrictions around the world, we look forward to opening more routes and frequencies. This will allow an even greater number of passengers to experience an affordable, on-time, safe and hassle-free travel experience, onboard our lean clean flying machine.”Ronojoy Dutta, Wholetime Director and Chief Executive, IndiGo

The airline recently announced the re-introduction of scheduled operations of more than 150 foreign flights from various airports in India in April. IndiGo has also expanded its domestic network with several new routes.

IndiGo has evolved from a single plane carrier to a fleet of 276 aircraft since its establishment in August 2006. As of January 2022, the airline is India's largest passenger airline, with a market share of 55.5%. IndiGo has a total of 97 destinations, including 73 domestic and 24 internationals.

Top 25 airlines with the most active aircraft in March 2022. (Data - ch-aviation)

According to ch-aviation, IndiGo was part of the top 25 airlines in the world with the most active aircraft in March 2022 with 92% active aircraft.

ALSO READ - The Indigo fleet in 2021, 2022 and beyond: Outstanding order explained

Read next

Two brothers to execute a mid-air "airplane swap" - the first of its kind ever in the history of aviation


12 Apr 2022

The Wright Brothers may have been the first to make the first successful flight in the history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft, although this time around, it is the Red Bull Air Force members and cousins - Luke Aikins and Andy Farrington - who's gonna make history.


In what is touted to be the first of its kind in the world and aviation history, the two cousins will attempt to "swap planes" mid-air in a controlled manoeuvre, before moving on to attempt a safe landing.

Here's what we know.

The feat involves the pilots taking their Cessna and pitching them into a synchronized nosedive at 14,000ft (4,000m) - stop the engines, while a custom-manufactured airbrake will hold the planes in a controlled-descent speed of 140mph (225kph). They will then exit their respective aircraft and cross each other mid-air before skydiving in tandem into each other’s planes, before performing a safe landing. All of these would be performed in under 1 minute for "plane swap".

Representative | New Atlas

History in the making

This will be the first time in history a pilot will take off from one aircraft and land in another.

Aikin, who is an acclaimed skydiver, has undertaken more than 21,000 jumps, is also a commercial aeroplane/helicopter pilot, innovator and coach, and consultant on the legendary 2012 Red Bull Stratos mission.

Luke Aikins | Creator: Christian Pondella | Create Digital

In 2016, he set a new world record by freefalling from the mid-tropospheric altitude of 25000 ft without Parachute, landing in a carefully constructed 30m x 30m net- this being just one of three world records he holds.

Apparently, the "plane swap" concept was visualized by Aikin, who was inspired by a 1990s photo in an aviation publication.

Comin from a family of skydivers, his cousin-Andy Farrington, was also born to fly. His mum, Jessie, made about 100 jumps with Andy in utero. Andy made his first tandem jump at age 12, went solo at 16, and has since become the king of the skies, having accumulated over 27,000 jumps, 1,000 BASE jumps and 6,000 hours as a pilot.

Andy Farrington | Red Bull

How did they go about it?

Apparently, hours of research and development went into the modifications required to make this possible.

 Dr Paulo Iscol- a world-renowned aeronautical engineer, collaborated with Aikins and Farrington to serve as lead engineer and worked on the issue of how to produce a controlled vertical descent – which is the exact opposite of how autopilot systems are designed to function.

Representative | Esquire

This necessitated the need for reverse engineering of the autopilot mechanics-which resulted in a purpose-built airbrake system installed on the belly hat that would hold the planes at a controlled-descent speed of 225kph (140 mph)- exactly matching the rate of the skydivers' descent.

Plane Swap is the pinnacle of my career, and my goal is to inspire the world and show that anything is possible. You can set your mind on something that at times seems wild, crazy and unattainable, but through ambition and creativity, you can make it happenAikins revealed


COVER: Digital Trends

Read next

Bank angle and "G" forces - how they impact the human body and can be fatal


17 Apr 2022

Flight 507, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Kenya Airways, crashed in the initial stage of its second leg on 5 May 2007, immediately after take-off, killing everyone on board.

Kenya Airways Flight 507 | Representative | Source

According to reports, the plane tended to bank right, which the captain countered by using his control wheel. In the series of events that would follow, it was ascertained that there was a miscommunication between the two pilots and that the co-pilot hadn't acknowledged a verbal command by the captain requesting to activate the auto-pilot.

 In the 55 seconds that followed, the aircraft was piloted by neither pilot nor the autopilot. This eventually led to the aircraft increasing its bank angle from 1 degree, at the time the captain let go of the control wheel, to 34 degrees, when the bank angle warning kicked in.

By the time the captain managed to engage the autopilot, the aircraft was banking from 50 degrees to nearly 115 degrees at 2,290 ft. By this time, the aircraft was in an unrecoverable position and crashed into a mangrove swamp less than two minutes after takeoff.

Bank angle awareness

Representative | Quora

Loss of Control accidents can occur in one of the following three typical ways in which an unusual roll attitude can develop with delayed flight crew awareness:

When the flight crew temporarily fail to scan flight instrument(s) under the assumption that the autopilot is engaged, while it may be not (as was the case above)When the aircraft is flown manually in poor visibility conditions and solely based on external visual references.When there is a malfunction of the Attitude Direct Indicator (ADI) or Artificial Horizon (AH)

Electronic Attitude Direct Indicator | KLM UK Engineering Online Training

In all cases though, loss of bank angle awareness should be confined to just one pilot- Pilot Monitoring (PM) while any discrepancies (if any) should be corrected by the Pilot Flying (PF).

Instances, where there has been a successful recovery, are scarce, although it is to be noted that such occurrences can happen even in a flight deck with three members.

In addition to the loss of control, excessive banking can have significant effects on the G forces that act on a human body, depending on the degree of banking.

How do G forces impact the human body?

Science defines centrifugal force as something measured in g forces, with 1 g being gravity's effect on a person or object at or near the Earth's surface. Therefore, a rating of 2G means the person or object is experiencing twice the effect of gravity.

Assuming you are sitting or standing on solid ground right now, you are in a 1 G environment. Earth's standard force of gravity (G) is pushing against you as it normally does.

When planes make rapid turns, especially in the order of 90 deg or more, it creates a radial acceleration that can generate more than 6 G's of force- or six times the force of gravity of earth. This can have serious implications for humans who are adapted to survive in a 1G environment.

High-speed close-up view of a man's distorted face in GForce experiment in a wind tunnel | Representative | Getty Images

In a 1 G environment, the heart generates enough blood pressure to deliver the blood above the heart and to the organs above the chest. But in a rapidly building G environment, the acceleration force is strong enough to force the blood down the legs, making it difficult or almost impossible to flow back to the heart for re-circulationDr. Swee Weng Fan, a former flight surgeon and current managing director of training at NASTAR (National Aerospace Training and Research Center)

The human body can typically withstand about 5 Gs. At about 8 or 9 G, a human typically experiences blackout or loss of consciousness.

G-LOC | Representative | Sky Combat Ace

30 degrees of banking angle is typically the limit on a commercial passenger. 45 degrees would be deemed as "uncomfortable" by most passengers as in this case the load factor increases by 50% - giving a sensation equal to 1.4-1.5 times the body weight.

Airbus Fly-by-Wire (FBW) in normal law, apparently, doesn't allow banking exceeding 67 degrees as such a level turn would yield 2.5G - maximum for any transport category aircraft.

Types of G forces

+Gx – Gravitational force exerted on a pilot’s body from chest to back during take-off or sudden acceleration, pushing a pilot back into their seats.-Gx – Force exerted from back to chest, pushing the pilot forward. This may occur during landings or forward impacts.Gy – A lateral gravitational force that is exerted on the pilot’s shoulders, such as during a lateral roll.+Gz – A gravitational force that is exerted on the vertical plane of the body, such as during recovery from a dive or the pull into an inside loop.-Gz – Force exerted vertically as pilots push into dives.

An upwards acceleration of about 5g is enough to overwhelm the ability of the heart to pump blood to the brain. This causes oxygen starvation and the person can experience what is called G-LOC, or G force-induced loss of consciousness.

As arterial pressure in the eyes falls, pilots may begin to experience tunnel vision, gun barrel vision, and finally grey or blackout vision. These have often been the cause of numerous military and civilian aviation disasters over the last century.

Apparently, human tolerances of negative Gs are even worse. The negative Gs, force more blood to the head, causing vessels to burst in the eye- a condition called "red out" and, eventually, the brain. An extended force as low as negative 3Gs can be deadly.

A G force injury | Representative | MediHelp

All military and acrobatic pilots, therefore, train in Anti-G Straining Manoeuvre (AGSM) - these include various breathing and muscle-tensing techniques to minimize downward blood flow and keep the brain as oxygenated as possible. Additionally, pilots must maintain strong physical fitness, wellness and nutrition to stay alert in high-G environments.

Anti-G suit | Representative | GobizKorea.com

That said, limiting alcohol consumption, resting properly before the flight, and hydrating adequately for several days before flying can also help pilots with confronting extreme G-forces.


COVER: Futurism

Read next

A dozen airport and airlines maintenance staff reported working drunk in India

Radhika Bansal

11 Apr 2022

A dozen airport drivers, firefighters and even plane maintenance staff reported working drunk in India in the first two months of the year, a regulatory crackdown found, reigniting concerns about flight safety in an aviation market that’s previously had issues with inebriated pilots.

Under a program initiated by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, ground employees with IndiGo -- the nation’s biggest airline -- SpiceJet Ltd., and even Indian Oil Corp. were found to have failed breath-analyzer tests in January and February, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A first breach leads to a suspension, and repeat offenders may see their permits to work in airports confiscated, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Ground employees with IndiGo, SpiceJet, and even Indian Oil Corp. were found to have failed breath-analyzer tests in January and February 2022.

India in December revised guidelines to expand the universe of airport workers who would be subjected to breath-analyzer checks. Maintenance staff and anyone who visits the cockpit for inspection, audit or training were included.

The list has since been expanded further to include drivers of baggage carts, loaders, push-back operators and air traffic controllers, the person said. Expanding the testing pool will bring Indian airport safety and operation standards closer to global benchmarks.

Even when blood alcohol levels are near zero, the effects of any alcohol consumption can last as long as 36 hours, according to guidelines released in 2021. A spokesman for India’s civil aviation ministry, which oversees the DGCA, didn’t have an immediate comment.

Even when blood alcohol levels are near zero, the effects of any alcohol consumption can last as long as 36 hours

ALSO READ - DGCA orders pre-flight alcohol tests for 50% of pilots and cabin crew daily

IndiGo said in a statement that January 2022 “witnessed the peak of Covid cases during the third wave.” “Being on certain medication can also lead to employees failing the breath-analyzer test,” according to the statement. “However, cases of ground staff failing this test are far and few between. We follow all laid down protocols to ensure the safety of our passengers and employees.”

Representatives for SpiceJet and Indian Oil didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. In 2018, a senior pilot with former state carrier Air India Ltd. -- who was also a member of the airline’s board of directors and was in charge of its overall flight operations -- tested positive on a breath test just an hour before he was scheduled to fly to London from New Delhi.

India in December revised guidelines to expand the universe of airport workers who would be subjected to breath-analyzer checks.

Two years earlier, the DGCA ordered Jet Airways India Ltd. and Air India to file police complaints against pilots who were found drunk, deploying legal action for the first time in such cases. Other countries and airlines have faced issues with drunk pilots.

Japan Airlines Co. was forced to put off a bond sale in 2018 and its president took a 20% pay cut for a few months after a pilot showed up drunk just before he was to operate a London-to-Tokyo flight.

A year later, South Korea’s transport ministry suspended the license of a pilot at budget carrier Jin Air Co. for 90 days for failing an alcohol test before a flight and imposed a 210 million won (USD 172,200) penalty on the carrier.

(With Inputs from Bloomberg)

Read next

Northeast is a 'high-priority region' for PM, with 18 airstrips/heliports being built - Jyotiraditya Scindia

Radhika Bansal

11 Apr 2022

Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Friday, April 8 said the northeast is a "high-priority region" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he went on to list the various initiatives taken up by the government for its development.

“In the last two-three years, we've developed a new airport terminal at Agartala, a new terminal is coming up at Holongi, a runway at Tezu is being upgraded. Eighteen more airstrips/heliports are being developed in the region,” Scindia was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

ALSO READ - “Passenger operations from Agartala to Dhaka and Chittagong soon” – Tripura CM

The Union minister also said that a plan worth nearly INR 2,000 crore is in the works to develop the airport infrastructure in the region. “UDAAN has been a successful scheme for the region. We have given priority to Krishi Udaan here,” he added.

On April 12, two Dornier aircraft will be taken into operation by Alliance Air

“On April 12, two Dornier aircraft will be taken into operation by Alliance Air – they will operate from Dibrugarh to Pasighat, Tezu and Ziro in phase 1. In phase 2, Mechka, Vijoynagar and Tutling will be covered,” he further said.

ALSO READ - Alliance Air receives the first made-in-India civilian aircraft – Dornier 228

Last month, Scindia said the government has set a target of creating 220 new airports by 2025. He announced in the Lok Sabha while responding to demands for grants from the civil aviation ministry for 2022-23.

ALSO READ - Northeast India’s first commercial pilot training academy set to begin at Lilabari airport

With this, the government has set a target of creating 220 new airports by 2025 - Scindia

Stating that steps will be taken to simplify the process of granting pilot licences using advanced technologies, the minister added that the government intends to create 33 new domestic cargo terminals, set up 15 new flight training schools for pilots, and create more jobs, and increase focus on the drone sector. "With this, the government has set a target of creating 220 new airports by 2025," he said.

ALSO READ - Jyotiraditya Scindia advocates for paternity leave in airlines; wants 50% women pilots

Scindia also hailed the high proportion of women pilots in the country: "In all other countries, only five per cent of the pilots are women. In India, over 15% of pilots are women. This is another example of women's empowerment. There have been a lot of changes in the aviation industry in the last 20-25 years."