HJT-16 Kiran Trainer
The HAL built Kiran (HJT-16) intermediate stage trainer was evolved from the British Jet Provost design. The Kiran is a simple straight-wing aircraft with side-by-side seating. The first prototype flew on September 4, 1964. By 1989 a total of 251 aircraft were built including 51 improved "Kiran II"s.
The Kiran aircraft being used in stage II training of pilots was beset with problems. HAL made HPT-32 replaced HT-2 in 1984. However the aircraft was highly under-powered and mired with repeat engine failures. Since 1989, there had been 11 cases of its engine flameout in air or on ground affecting the confidence level in reliability of the aircraft, thereby affecting the flying training. Besides, the performance of radio compass and radio transmission equipment fitted on Kiran aircraft had also been a weak area for considerable time. Therefore, there was immediate need for upgradation of avionics equipment of Kiran aircraft in the interest of flight safety. Spares were difficult to get.
After 23 pilots died in 17 crashes, the aircraft was permanently grounded in July 2009.
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