Indian Navy is establishing a new training school to supplement its aviation technology talent pool

Radhika Bansal

12 Apr 2022

The Indian Navy has started an apprentice training school at Dabolim to upskill ITI students and give them technical skills which will enable them to get employment as technicians for civilian and military aircraft.

The school will address the shortfall of aeronautical technicians, said the Indian Navy in a statement. While the first batch includes five students, the Indian Navy intends to scale up the school to accommodate around 50 apprentices per batch.

The Apprentice Training School (ATS) is attached to the Naval Aircraft Yard at INS Hansa and was inaugurated by master craftsman shipwright Rama Chari, the longest-serving employee of the naval aircraft yard. Assistant chief of naval staff (Air Material) rear admiral Deepak Bansal was present for the inauguration.

While the Indian Navy advertised for vacancies for apprentices in November 2021, just five candidates were selected for the first batch.

“The ATS aims to augment the aviation technical talent pool and also aid the national apprenticeship promotion scheme under the ‘Skill India’ initiative. The school is one of the limited vocational training institutes of the country in aeronautical technology,” said a naval officer.

The Navy said that the training school will provide “impetus for upskilling the technical workforce and also address the shortfall of aeronautical vocational training centres” in the defence and civilian sectors.

While the Indian Navy advertised for vacancies for apprentices in November 2021, just five candidates were selected for the first batch. The five candidates are two fitters and three electricians who hail from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

INS Hansa is India's biggest naval airbase.

“It is intended to scale up the school to accommodate around 50 apprentices per batch,” the Navy stated. The Navy is offering apprenticeships at the naval ship repair yard at Karwar and the Naval Aircraft Yard at INS Hansa and the selected candidates had the option of choosing Karwar or Goa.

The Navy said that just five candidates opted for Goa. The selection, tests and interviews were held at the Naval base at Karwar.

INS Hansa, is an Indian naval air station located near Dabolim in Goa, India. It is India's biggest naval airbase. The military air base has a civil enclave, that operates as Dabolim Airport.

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Alliance Air's made-in-India Dornier 228 makes its first commercial flight

Radhika Bansal

13 Apr 2022

Alliance Air's made-in-India Dornier 228 aircraft was deployed for its first commercial flight on the Dibrugarh-Pasighat route on Tuesday, April 12 with Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kiren Rijiju on board.

Accompanied by senior government officers, Scindia and Rijiju boarded the flight at the Mohanbari airport in Assam's Dibrugarh for Pasighat in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

The state-run Alliance Air became the country's first commercial airline to fly an Indian-made aircraft for civil operations. Till now, Dornier 228 planes were used by the armed forces only.

Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has approved a Scheme- "Providing air connectivity and Aviation infrastructure in North Eastern Region (NER)" to promote air connectivity in the states of the North Eastern Region and, it requires, to develop of infrastructure for air connectivity. 

As a part of this scheme, two important development will take place - The first flight of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - Made in India - Dornier Do-228 from Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat town in Arunachal Pradesh by Alliance Air, making it India's only first commercial airline to fly Indian made aircraft for civil operations and inauguration of first FTO (Flying Training Organization) for North Eastern Region at Lilabari, Assam.

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

Alliance Air had in February signed an agreement with the government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to lease two 17-seater Dornier 228 aircraft. The airline received its first Dornier 228 plane on April 7.

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

Regular flight operations are slated to start from April 18 on the Dibrugarh-Pasighat-Lilabari-Dibrugarh route.

The services will be further expanded to Tezu, Mechuka, Ziro and Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh with the Dibrugarh airport as the hub station. The services will be operated by Alliance Air under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.

Development of the North Eastern Region (NER) is not only of strategic importance but, is a part of India's growth story.

Connectivity in North Eastern Region is very essential and Under "Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN)", the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has identified North Eastern Region as a priority area. This has helped in enhancing inter and intra connectivity for the North Eastern Region. 

In this regard, new airports are getting developed and old airports are getting upgraded. Considering the hilly terrain, helicopter operations under the UDAN scheme have been given the focus on connectivity.

Alliance Air's made-in-India Dornier 228 made its first commercial flight

Dornier is originally a german aircraft first deployed by the long-defunct regional airline Vayudoot to service over 100 airports across India till the early 1990s.

In 1981, HAL acquired the production license for the aircraft from the manufacturers and assembled 125 of them at its Kanpur facility for both civilian and military purposes. 

Since 2009, Swiss aerospace engineering and defence company RUAG has been manufacturing the upgraded Do-228 New Generation (NG), with the fuselage, wings and tail being sourced from HAL.

The Dornier 228 NG used for commercial operations is the first aircraft made entirely in the country. It is a far improved version as compared to its predecessors.

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The aviation e-Security module likely to be completed by June 2022

Radhika Bansal

12 Apr 2022

The aviation e-Security module is likely to be completed by June 2022 and the e-Quality control programme is likely to be completed by August this year.

The single-window facility for approvals of security programmes related to aviation safety is likely to be ready by June this year, Union minister of civil aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, said on Monday, April 11.

In a parliamentary consultative committee attached to the civil aviation ministry, Scindia, on Monday, April 11 said that the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) establishes, develops, implements maintains and reviews the National Aviation Security (AvSec) programme.

The aviation e-Security module is likely to be completed by June 2022

“The e-Security programme is the single window facility for security programme approvals. The e-Quality control module is for security audit and security inspection of airports. The three modules: e-Sahaj, CACS and e-training have been completed and launched. The e-Security module is likely to be completed by June 2022 and the e-Quality control programme is likely to be completed by August this year,” a statement from the ministry read.

“BCAS has now undertaken e-BCAS, an initiative under e-Governance for automation of internal processes. This will be an online platform for the facilitation of stakeholders. It will leverage strengths of existing processes and organization structure, with the objective to make entire activities transparent, user-friendly and efficient.The Centralized Access Control System (CACS) deals with online systems for a biometric aerodrome entry permits and vehicle entry permit. It will regulate access of employees of approved government and private entities and authorized vehicles across zones at airports."Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation

The meeting was also attended by the minister of state Gen (Retd) Dr VK Singh, secretary civil aviation Rajiv Bansal and officers of the ministry, Airports Authority of India, BCAS and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

He also said that 16 training courses are being run for aviation security training and certifications.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India. It is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India.

It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General of Police and is designated as Director General of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

The Director General, BCAS is the appropriate authority for the implementation of Annexure 17(Security: Safeguarding International Civil Aviation Against Acts of Unlawful Interference) to the Chicago convention of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The Director General, BCAS is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme.

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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.

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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

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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