The HANSA programme is NAL's first foray in its initiative to create a vibrant Indian civil aviation industry. Launched around 1990, the programme involves the indigenous design, development, fabrication and flight testing of an all-composite 2-seat aircraft. Such an aircraft could replace the ageing trainers in India's 300 flying clubs. Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited (TAAL) is NAL's industrial partner in the HANSA program.
In 1980s, the need for indigenous development of a basic trainer aircraft was felt in India. As NAL had fabricated a light aircraft using imported design and in this process, developed infrastructure to undertake design and development of a light aircraft, Research Council approved a proposal in June 1988 for developing two-seater trainer aircraft for training, remote sensing etc, at a cost of Rs.50 lakh for completion in two-three years. The objective was to build indigenously, a low cost and acceptable cruise efficient aircraft with an all-up-weight of about 500-600 kgs and power around 70-90 bhp. The cost of each aircraft was expected to be less than Rs.5 lakh initially. In November 1993, NAL flew HANSA-2 on experimental basis.
The third HANSA prototype, HANSA-3II (VT-XBL), received the provisional JAR-VLA certification from India's Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in December 1998. The first production version (VT-HNS) had its maiden flight on 14 May 1999. HANSA-3, with night flying capability and the lightning protection feature received its JAR-VLA certification from India's DGCA on 1 February 2000. The serial production of the fully-certified HANSA is on; the first of the five new aircraft to be built rolled out by June 2000.
HANSA is the new light trainer aircraft designed, fabricated and tested by NAL. Fabricated entirely out of composite materials, HANSA is ideal for ab initio training, sport and hobby flying. HANSA can also be used for surveillance, aerial photography and environment monitoring. HANSA is slated to be serial-produced by NAL's partner, Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited (TAAL), at TAAL's modern factory in Hosur.
The first version of the NAL-TAAL series, HANSA-2 was re-engined (HANSA-2 RE) with the Teledyne Continental IO-240 engine early in 1996. The next aircraft of the series, HANSA-3I (VT-XAL), first flew in November 1996. The third HANSA-3 prototype, HANSA-3II (VT-XBL) with the Rotax 914 engine, first flew in May 1998; later it participated in the flying displays at Aero India '98 during 8-12 December 1998. Exactly a year later the first HANSA production version (VT-HNS) had its maiden flight on 14 May 1999. HANSA-3 is now fully certified and to be positioned at the Madras Flying Club.
HANSA has a low-wing configuration with tricycle landing gear. It has side-by-side seating with full dual controls. The use of composite materials makes the aircraft corrosion-resistant, easy to fabricate and gives it an extended fatigue life. HANSA's excellent handling qualities and its dual controls for instruction make it an ideal trainer. The control surfaces have been configured and balanced to provide pleasing control harmony and positive authority over the entire flight envelope. HANSA's configuration has evolved from its design goals of simplicity, and ease of fabrication and maintenance. NAL's vast experience in aerodynamics, structures and materials contributed significantly to the HANSA design.
HANSA's aerodynamic configuration was optimised using powerful aerodynamic and CFD software and comprehensive wind tunnel testing. The laminar flow aerofoil used for the HANSA wing reduces its drag significantly. HANSA's single slotted flap has been optimised to yield substantial reduction in take-off and landing distances. The structural sizing of HANSA's components was determined after extensive finite element analysis using MSC/NASTRAN and NAL's own codes to analyse composite structures.
A 'building block' approach, combining conventional design and development testing with specific certification related tests, was adopted to establish the airworthiness of the HANSA airframe. Exhaustive statistical testing, ranging from coupon level to fullscale airframe, were carried out to determine the airframe's material properties and structural responses. The composite components have been specially engineered to withstand hygro-thermal effects associated with the hot and humid tropical climate.
HANSA is fabricated using a novel vacuum moulding process developed by NAL. The entire airframe, with the exception of the landing gear and engine mount, is a sandwich shell constructed from glass composite skin and rigid, but resilient, foam cores. For the spar caps, stiffer carbon composite lay-ups have been used.
NAL has yet to develop its components indigenously. While reviewing the progress on HANSA in March 2000, Research Council (RC) of NAL recommended that priority should be given to indigenous systems, provided there was no basic compromise on technical requirements. Otherwise, in hightechnology areas like aircraft, indigenous design and development would collapse. NAL had imported all the components as the work of development of the aircraft was initiated without developing the components. Thus, despite the first and foremost objective of 'indigenous development' of aircrafts as envisaged in 1980s, NAL continues to depend on imported components for design and development of HANSA.
HANSA, developed by NAL after significant time and cost overruns did not find buyers in the market after the initial order for 10 aircraft.
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