India's prototype Saras push-prop crashes outside Bangalore

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India's National Aerospace Laboratories has suffered a setback to its push-prop Saras light aircraft programme after one of the two prototypes crashed on a test flight.

Three crew members on board the 14-seat aircraft were reportedly killed when it came down near Bidadi, southwest of Bangalore.

The airframe, which was completely destroyed in the accident, is said to have been the second of two prototypes.

National Aerospace Laboratories is cited as saying that the Indian Air Force pilots lost control of the twin-engined Saras while it was on a test flight.

vladamir karnozov

 © Vladimir Karnozov

The organisation had recently demonstrated the Saras at the Aero India 2009 air show in Bangalore.

Indian reports, quoting the air force, state that the aircraft had been undertaking a test during which the engine power was reduced.

The domestically-developed civil aircraft, which first flew in May 2004, has experienced years of delays.

Saras' distinctive design features two rear-mounted push-props driven by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engines.