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Mumbai pilot who built aircraft on terrace gets licence to fly

Parked on an airstrip in Dhule, homemade plane can fly up to a height of 4,000 metres, with a range of 2,000km

Gulf News

Mumbai: A commercial pilot who has single-handedly built a six-seater aircraft on a terrace atop his residential flat, in suburban Kandivili, has now been granted registration by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis formally handed over the DGCA certificate to Captain Amol Yadav, a deputy chief pilot with Jet Airways, on Monday.

Yadav thanked the CM for his support and intervention, in helping him to overcome obstacles while trying to get his prototype aircraft registered with the DGCA, and for writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his venture.

In a congratulatory note, the chief minister’s office tweeted, “Encouraging efforts ... Great example of @makeinindia! Captain Amol Yadav gets certificate of registration from DGCA, meets CM @Dev_Fadnavis to thank his efforts and follow up with Hon PM @narendramodi & Government of India. It is 1st Indian private company to get this certificate!”

The 41-year-old Yadav has also set up his own company, Thrust India.

When Yadav was in the US in 1995, he says he was surprised and interested in the way aviation enthusiasts, including middle class people, bought old, phased-out aircraft to remodel and customise them into new flying machines.

That is where he got the idea.

“The terrace atop my three-BHK flat is spread over 1,600 square feet [150 square metres] and served as my workshop for this aircraft which I created in the past six years.”

He designed and built the six-seater from scratch, from an old aeroplane, and the end product is a completely indigenous one.

Presently parked on an airstrip in Dhule, his plane can fly up to a height of 4,000 metres, climbing at 500 metres per minute, achieve top speeds of 185 knots with a range of 2,000km.

The government is planning to give him a 60-hectare plot in Palghar near Mumbai, where he plans to build up to 20-seater aircraft over the next few years through his company.

With the DGCA certification, he can now go ahead with test flights.

The government took notice of his venture when Yadav displayed his aircraft at the grand event in the city of Make In India, an initiative by PM Modi, in 201.

At the event, Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Fadnavis saw his aircraft, admired his efforts and decided to help him make his project go ahead.

With the state government aiming at expanded regional connectivity, Yadav feels this can be achieved when India starts manufacturing planes in the country — a massive effort that would revolutionise the Indian aviation industry.

He has spent enormous amount on his project but would now need big-time funding for it to take wings.