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HAL’s Indigenous Tejas MK-1A completes its first maiden flight

The LCA Tejas Aircraft Crash: Understanding the Reasons - Air Marshal GS Bedi's Perspective

The inaugural flight of the first production series fighter of LCA Tejas Mark-1A, an advanced iteration of the LCA Mk-1 recently inducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF), completed its maiden flight in Bengaluru Today.

Over the past several days, the Defence PSU HAL has been conducting various taxi trials in preparation for this milestone.

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The maiden flight lasted 18 minutes and marked a triumph for the project. The Mk-1A boasts several enhancements, including digital radar warning receivers, an advanced AESA radar, improved beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles, and external self-protection jammer pods.

The upgraded Tejas Mark 1A aircraft features a larger cockpit canopy, enhancing the pilot’s outside visibility and facilitating better movement of their helmet. Additionally, the air intake has been redesigned to supply faster airflow to the engine, enhancing performance. Modifications to the vertical radar in the tail section have been made to improve control during turns. Overall, these upgrades elevate the aircraft’s standards compared to previous versions, providing increased comfort and functionality.

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Under a contract worth Rs 46,898 crore signed in 2021, HAL is mandated to deliver 83 Tejas Mk-1A jets between March 2024 and February 2028. This follows the completion of the order for 40 Tejas Mk1 jets valued at Rs 8,802 crore, of which 32 single-seat fighters and two twin-seat trainers have already been delivered.

The IAF, which currently operates two Tejas squadrons named ‘Flying Daggers’ and ‘Flying Bullets’, has deployed one squadron in the southwestern sector. Recognizing the significance of the Tejas in bolstering its fleet, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the acquisition of an additional 97 Tejas Mk-1A aircraft. However, the final clearance from the cabinet committee on security (CCS) is pending before the order can be placed.

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With the IAF grappling with a decline in the number of its fighter squadrons, which currently stands at 31 against the required 42 to effectively counter threats from China and Pakistan, the Tejas assumes a crucial role in filling this gap. Despite initial skepticism, the Tejas has evolved into a flagship platform for India, garnering attention and accolades at numerous defense and aerospace exhibitions worldwide.

However, it is essential to note that the IAF recently experienced its first loss of a Tejas Mk 1 fighter aircraft due to an air crash on March 12.

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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Aviation

Air India’s B747 Makes Its Final Journey, Waving Farewell to Fans

Air India's B747 Makes Its Final Journey, Waving Farewell to Fans

In a poignant moment marking the end of an era in aviation history, Air India’s iconic Boeing 747 aircraft, affectionately known as the ‘Queen of the Skies,’ embarked on its ultimate journey from Mumbai’s international airport.

The departure, bound for Plainfield, USA, where it will undergo dismantling and part-stripping under the ownership of American AerSale, signals the closure of a storied chapter for the airline.

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Once revered for transporting dignitaries ranging from prime ministers to presidents, the Boeing 747 has etched itself into aviation lore. Yet, as airlines worldwide pivot towards more contemporary and cost-effective aircraft, Air India’s decision to bid farewell to its remaining Boeing 747s reflects the pragmatic realities of today’s aviation landscape.

The sale of these majestic planes to AerSale represents a strategic move by Tata Group, Air India’s new custodian, towards optimizing operational efficiency and embracing modern industry standards. Out of the four aircraft sold, two will be repurposed into freighters, while the remaining pair will be meticulously disassembled to salvage valuable components.

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The final flight from Mumbai witnessed a touching tribute as pilots performed a traditional ‘Wing Wave,’ symbolizing the conclusion of the Boeing 747‘s distinguished service with Air India. This poignant gesture encapsulates the deep sentiment attached to the aircraft’s departure and its significant contribution to the airline’s legacy.

As the Boeing 747 embarks on its journey to Plainfield, USA, nostalgia permeates the air, evoking memories of its maiden flight on March 22, 1971. Over five decades, Air India operated a total of 25 Boeing 747s, each leaving an indelible mark on the annals of aviation history.

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Middle East

British Airways Resumes Daily Flights to Abu Dhabi, After 4-Year hiatus

British Airways Resumes Daily Flights to Abu Dhabi, After 4-Year hiatus
Photo: Wikipedia

British Airways made its way back to Abu Dhabi, landing at Zayed International Airport. Following a four-year break in service, both crew and passengers were greeted with enthusiasm.

In the summer of 2024, British Airways plans to launch a daily route, utilising a Boeing 787-9, from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. The new route enhances ties between the UAE and the UK and expands  vast worldwide network, catering to passengers who may be visiting friends and family or travelling for business.

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Arriving in Abu Dhabi at 08.30+1, flight BA073 to Abu Dhabi leaves London Heathrow at 22.25. Departing at 10.10 and landing at London Heathrow at 15.20 is the inbound flight (BA072).

The chief executive officer and managing director of Abu Dhabi Airports, Elena Sorlini, stated: “We are delighted to welcome British Airways to Zayed International Airport. Their daily schedule is expected to improve connectivity and stimulate travel and business.” Visitors may experience the dynamic capital of the United Arab Emirates like never before at our brand-new, award-winning, state-of-the-art terminal, where they will be welcomed with the best kind of Emirati hospitality.”

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Flight schedule:

London Heathrow (LHR) to Zayed International (AUH)All times are local
 
SeasonFlight numberDeparting LHRArriving AUHFlight numberDeparting AUHArriving LHR
Summer ‘24BA7322:2508:30+1BA7210:1015:20
Winter ‘24BA7322:2509:30+1BA7211:1015:20

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Aviation

FAA investigation: Passenger seated in Captain’s seat inside cockpit at cruising altitude

FAA investigation: Passenger seated in Captain's seat inside cockpit at cruising altitude

A viral video capturing a startling moment aboard a United Airlines charter flight from Denver to Toronto has triggered a federal investigation.

The footage, initially shared on social media by Hensley Meulens, the hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, depicts a member of the coaching staff seated in one of the pilot seats while the aircraft was in mid-flight.

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In his caption, Meulens expressed gratitude to the captain and first officer for allowing him this unusual experience. The video, filmed by another passenger, reveals the cockpit door open, and at one point, a third passenger briefly enters the flight deck. Alarmingly, during this time, the captain was absent from the cockpit.

Despite the flight being a private charter operated by United Airlines, company and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations strictly prohibit passengers from entering the cockpit during flight or leaving the flight deck unsecured.

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United Airlines swiftly responded, expressing deep concern over the incident. A spokesperson emphasized that the video depicted an unauthorized person in the flight deck at cruising altitude with the autopilot engaged, constituting a clear violation of safety and operational policies.

The FAA confirmed that it is actively investigating the incident, highlighting that unauthorized access to the flight deck during flight is a violation of federal regulations. The agency assured that it is taking the matter seriously and will conduct a thorough examination to ensure compliance with aviation safety standards.

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