Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

HANSA NG, India breaks the taboo entering trainer aircraft manufacture


India has rolled out the much awaited single engine basic trainer aircraft to meet with the requirements of training pilots who would graduate to become airline pilots. Hansa - 3 is India’s first all-composite light aircraft designed and developed by CSIR-NAL a government organization in partnership with MESCO aerospace, ideally suited for ab-initio flying training, sport and hobby flying. With this aim, the new generation HANSA is equipped with a glass cockpit, capable of Instruments only flying, electrically operated flap system and an imported ROTAX 912iSc engine which develops a continuous power of 98 bhp.

The aircraft structure uses JIPREG composite, a National Aeronautics Limited technology. This Computer Controlled Fabric Impregnation Machine (CCFIM) replaces the cumbersome manual resin impregnation processes, ridden with drawbacks like non-uniform wetting of fabrics, weave distortions and poor quality of impregnation, due to their dependence on human skills. It further protects the workers from occupational hazards, also rendering the composite product development both eco-friendly and cost-effective.

HANSA Glass Cockpit

                       SONACA 200 GARMIN Glass Cockpit

Tardy Aircraft Performance

While India rolled out Hansa-NG, a Belgium based aircraft manufacturer SONACA rolled out SONAC-200 about the same time. There is a remarkable similarity in the looks of the two aircraft but the performance of the two is what separates the men from the boys. The table below provides the differences in aircraft performance.



Power plant


Rotax 912iSc Sport 63.6 kgs

BRP Rotax 914 F Turbo – 115 Cv 64 Kgs


  • Two-blade constant speed MT propeller of 175 cm (69 Inch) diameter 

Fixed pitch - Duc Hélices 3 Blades

Fuel Grade

  • MoGas or Avgas fuel 

UL91, Avgas 100LL, Mogas



750 kg

750 kg

Empty weight

540 kg

480 kg


210 kg

270 kg




Wing Span

10.47 m



7.6 m


Fuel Capacity

95 liters

140 liters


Stall speed


42 kias

Cruise speed

108 KTAS

110 ktas

Rate of climb

700 ft/min

750 fpm


594 nm

750 Nm

Certification category

DGCA under the FAR-23 



Load factor

Data NA


Other specification

India’s first all-composite light aircraft

Full aluminum structure  

  • Landing Gear Wheel Fairings 

Robust landing gear

  • Steerable Nose Wheel 

Steerable nose wheel

  • MIP with Glass Cockpit 

Garmin G500 TXI and Garmin GI 275 as Backup EFIS Instruments

The verdict

The HANSA-NG is a good platform aircraft model to build upon a world class trainer aircraft. The comparison with SONACA makes it clear that a lot of ground still needs to be covered before the aircraft performance matches close to the competitors. HANSA is clearly not a revolutionary piece in itself but a kindle of hope that some day the India with private partnership could produce aircrafts to fulfill her need for a modern fuel efficient civil passenger aircraft.

The simple comparison raises a few issues. SONACA boasts of a rigid aluminum body which can take upto 6 g load. HANSA uses a composite structure which should make the aircraft lighter, on the contrary, HANSA is 60kgs heavier than SONACA and carried 60kgs lesser payload.

To ensure the safety and longevity of the aircraft, SONACA has chosen to use proven technologies. The all-metal riveted structure provides a strong frame that is easy to repair in case of damage, a popular feature among schools and flying clubs.

All the dimensioning is based on advanced digital simulations that the Sonaca group has used for many years to calculate and dimension the components of aircraft structures such as Airbus, Embraer, Boeing, Dassault commercial aircraft.

HANSA is bigger in in terms of dimensions, almost a meter in wing span and .6m in length. The fuel carrying capacity in the wings despite the higher span is lesser by 45 liters and a reduced range of 289 km. 

The SONACA is rugged and capable of landing on unpaved surfaces, can pull higher G force and fly for almost 7 hours. The GARMIN glass cockpit which is a world class piece of equipment gives the edge.

All in all, the NAL- MESCO joint venture has broken the taboo of having failed to produce a trainer aircraft despite the nations advances in space and technology. The design and performance though needs much to be desired.


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