Friday, March 06, 2009

The Saras crash

The crash of the Saras is heartbreaking. Apart from the deep tragedy to the families of the pilots and the body blow to the programme itself, it's been, for me, personally heartbreaking. My first report as a defence correspondent, was about the Saras. On August 17, 2004, the national pages of the Indian Express carried my first report. I remember looking diligently for the numbers of the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) number, speaking to the Director, and filing my first ever report with a great sense of excitement. The aircraft I was talking about there was of course the first prototype. The one that crashed two days ago was the second prototype, and was on just its 49th flight according to a couple of reports.

A story in the Telegraph today.

23 comments:

Pratik Sawerdekar said...

oh god, thats bad !

mirza said...

Just like Avro Awacs. ?mark for project by all media or on other hand +thinking. Save the project find the truth and clear it.

Condolence for family's of dead's

Sam said...

hey shiv

i am regular reader of ur blog and the comments on it but some times u are too slow to update this site. come on sir we had mig23bn retire we had a direct hit on the pad and the bharmos success there was no news from u come sir we are waiting for ur post.

Shan said...

May their soul rest in peace

Anonymous said...

Shiv,

Any info on the US "rechecking" orders for GE supplying engines to Shivalik. This should be the last straw for us to have any meaningful military equipments from them for the next ten years.

Ravi

Anonymous said...

One of the best faltu plane(SARAS) in the world made by indians.

Shiv Aroor said...

Sam: thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, like I've said many times before, this blog is a personal one -- it isn't my full-time job! And over the last few days, I've been deeply busy with some stuff at work. Will post, though a little delayed. Don't worry, it'll be something nobody else has.

Rational View said...

It is a sad day ! Those three man were doing a great service to india by risking their lives and flying prototype aircrafts. My prayers are with the families of the departed soul. I hope that their their relentless efforts and sacrofices will not go in vain. May their soul rest in peace for they have given the max that one can for a goal that is paramount to the progress of civial aviation industry.

Rahul Singh said...

Will not say i can understand what families of dead would be going through. Can only pray to lord Shiva to grant peace to departed souls and bless their families with all good required to get their smile back.
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I have reasons to say "stay practical". Accidents and aviation have closest relation no matter how safe technology be. Prototypes do crashes and pilots dies but show must go on. Even Dornier-228 had a prototype crash.

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Shiv: I am shell shocked to see you allowing simply #$%&@ comments like from a MF-PAKI(anonymous 6:53).

Payeng said...

Rest In Peace

Payeng said...

and sir don't forget the insight of Dhruv.

Anonymous said...

This is unfortunate...
1st Indian step towards civil aviation has received a big jolt...
tragic for families...
Whats the govt policy on compensetion for families/dependants in such cases.. anyone any idea please

Anonymous said...

10 billion is just for 126 aircraft,if our country buy typhoon,f18,gripen,

then there is need for totally different logistic and maintainance infrastucture and weapons and that will cost anohter $ 10 billion as euro and amerikansi infrastrucutre r not so cheap

but with rafale and mig35 v have exixting infrastucture

mig35 will be even cheaper as v already have infrastructure for mig29 because there is more resemblance in between mig29 and mig35 compared to mirage2000 and rafale

exixting weapons for su30mki can be used on mig35 so no buy of weapons

TOT FOR rd33-3 engines and also upgrading mig29 and will have upto 46 mig29k

option for israeli and european weapons and electronics

again don't need to buy extra weapons for mig29k otherwise wich cost in billions

but rafale will be better option in long run

Anonymous said...

Was there a black box on the aircraft? Will they be able to debug the reason for the crash? It would be criminal negligence if they didn't even put a black box on the aircraft. Completely callous!! Looking at the pictures, it looks like the SARAS completely burned up.

Abhijoy said...

Goddamnit! Stop spamming redundant MMRCA tender info in every single news article!! Arghhhh...

Anonymous said...

One of the best faltu plane(SARAS) in the world made by indians.


bhaad main jaa taliban paki

Anonymous said...

I have known ilayaraj for a long time, we were together in viswa vihar, when ever I used to come across the saras aircraft I used to get a feeling that it is against the principles of aerodynamics. I may be wrong with this feeling technically. IAF has made numerous sacrifices to these indeginisation programmes. There was an occassion when a fighter blew up in air becuase of the indeginised bomb, NAL made AWACS is well known, HAL maruth was a big tragedy, DARE mig-27 upgrade overun time, the scientists there couldnt accomplish weapon delivery. They finally took the help and implementation in software from airforce itself, u will be surprised to know that the weapon delivery in mig 27 upgrade has been ported and integrated onto the mission computer of mig-27 by airforce, its a shame that DRDO DARE derives credit for the same, now we are getting to hear that Kaveri engine is ready, maybe you can all expect what is going to happen with LCA. The country doesnt want to embrace the best of the technology available world wide and the integration of the same to acheive air superiority, Any such proposal is thwarted by these institutions. The problem lies in thier very approach and the existing policies, they know that even if they fail to deliver there is no pressure they do get regular incomes. Even if they make a stupid system they need not fly, I wonder why none of the scientist from NAL was there to do evaluations of the aircraft, I doubt if any of the scientists have ever flown as a passenger atleast in that aircraft. They are not stake holders and they even dare to make a statement that they will continue with the program shameless, after all what is the caliber of most of these scientists , I guess they are from reserved category with probably just passing marks in their graduation (Thanks to Arjun singh), I would particularly like Shiv to comment on this, instead of lauding the efforts of these organizations u must dig deep and find the thruth, nowhere in the world (wether russia, america, china, france, britain, isreal etc) these type of grave incidents happen during prototype testing.

Mihir said...

^^^

One crash, and the anti-desi brigade starts crawling out of the woodwork!

Idiots!

Anonymous said...

Mihir,why don't you shut the fuck up?.....telling the truth doesn't mean becoming anti-indian.....being patriotic is good but you should accept the reality....there problem with DPSUs is that they don't face competition ....but,once you are challenged ,projects will soon become time-bound....this is from someone, who supervised the team in 2005.

Mihir said...

Right! Using caste to deprecate indigenous R&D institutions is being "patriotic". And making outrageous claims, like "The country doesn't want to embrace the best of the technology available world wide" without taking tech denials into account is what goes for "accepting reality".

Time to leave wonderland, Alice, and see reality for what it is. There is a risk associated with developing aircraft - and the brave souls who pilot these aircraft are fully aware of those risk and the benefits when they pay off handsomely. Your sniveling and lame attempts at using their deaths to kick mud on NAL and DRDO reeks of intellectually constipated vindictiveness.

Anonymous said...

@ mihir 7:36pm
and outrageous are your attempts to justify the loss of three young lives in the name of achieving self-reliance without resorting to minimum safety standards .have you worked for NAL? no, i bet u haven't. Take a business visitors' pass at least for a day and visit their facility near the ISRO satellite center on the airport road and try to spend the entire day checking the infrastructure and work of the employees. You find out the reality for yourself.

AVIATOR said...

Responding to anonymous (7:32 pm)

For having said you stay in Vishwa Vihar , do not know much of aerodynamics and boasting of M-27 upg weapon delivery software you have revealed the organisation in IAF you belong to. Being a part of IAF , involved in flight testing and having worked closely with DRDO , I am of the opinion that certain of your comments were uncalled for. M-27 UPG is a great success inspite of the delay which is quite common on any upgrade programme and the success is attributed to team work(IAF, DRDO anD HAL) Starting your comment by mentioning Elayas (Elayaraja) name and airing your views on something else much trivial could have been avoided. Lets appreciate the efforts including those of the testers who are no more with us.

nirmal said...

here's a part of an article I read
The problem confronting NAL today is one familiar to observers of the Indian scene and the past performance of major players such as HAL. Faulty planning, time and cost overruns, lack of foresight and, to cap it, an absence of a professional work culture allowing for thoroughgoing review, criticism and a self-correction mechanism. In the Saras case, these latter flaws were pointed out by a very senior and now retired doyen of Indian aviation in a letter to a leading national daily stating that the problems of overweight and other design and fabrication problems were brought to the attention of senior NAL and CSIR officials but to no avail. These systemic problems have held Indian aviation back whereas those of some other developing countries have galloped ahead.



A good example is the Brazilian aircraft company Embraer which is now a world-class global manufacturer of regional aircraft with 40-100 seat capacity. It is worth briefly recalling the Embraer story as, by comparison, it brings out the weaknesses in the Indian system.

There's some truth to earlier comments which shouldn't be completely taken negative. THere are issues of sustained leadership of the teams. The mantle has passed from head to head leading to various changes and continual changes/alterations to plans. The LCA team too has had a history of team leaders nowhere or having left in anguish.
Putting all that aside, we still are taking a step forward. Test piloting has immense risk, Lets hope theres a mutual understanding of difficulties & constraints and then snergise efforts to achieve the overall objective