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Bangalore air show: NAL slims down Saras

India's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) hopes to fly the second prototype of its much-delayed Saras 14-seat twin-pusher utility aircraft by mid-March, as it battles to reduce the aircraft's weight.

The second aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 7,100kg (15,650lb) - 1,000kg higher than the first - but has an empty weight about 500kg lower, according to NAL Centre for Civil Aircraft Design and Development programme director Dr K Yegna Narayan. It is equipped with 1,200shp (731kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A turboprops, which replace the original aircraft's 850shp -66s.

The first aircraft has accumulated "close to 100 sorties", says Narayan. However its structural design was "over-conservative", he says, and for the second aircraft weight has been taken out of all components. "Now that structural testing is complete we know what the margins are," he adds.

© Vladimir Karnozov   
The manufacturer is trying to reduce weight on the much-delayed 14-seater

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