Sukhois, Tejas trial emergency landing on Andhra highway a success
Deccan Chronicle.| md ilyas
Air Force officials conducting aircrafttrial run on the16th National Highway Pichikala Gudipadu-Nangavaram villages of Korishapadu Mandal near Addanki of Bapatla District on Thursday. (Photo: By arrangement)
Vijayawada: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday successfully completed trial runs of a 4.1-kilometre-long and 33-metre-wide emergency landing airstrip constructed on National Highway 16 (NH-16) at Pichikala Gudipadu village in Korisapadu mandal of Bapatla district.
An AN-32 transport plane, two Sukhoi fighter planes and two Tejas light combat fighters took part in the trial, according to an IAF official.
District collector K. Vijaya Krishnan said that the emergency airstrip will soon become operational and that it was the first-of-its-kind construction in southern India. Two such airstrips are currently operational in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The work on the airstrip, undertaken by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), will be completed soon, officials said. Fencing on both sides, to prevent the entry of people and animals, is pending.
Bapatla police superintendent (SP) Vakul Jindal said that a strong security cordon was established, with around 200 police personnel, for the trial run. He said that as part of the trial, the aircraft flew at a height of 100 metres, without touching the ground.
IAF Commander Group Captain R.S. Chowdary said that the trial was a complete success, but added that the emergency landing facility was not fully prepared for a landing at present. He said that once the facility is ready after the IAF confirms its feasibility, it will be operational.
Further, he said that another such facility will come up in Nellore district on the NH-16. More such facilities are being planned in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that on Thursday, the fighter aircraft circled at a height of five feet and reached their destinations safely.
Krishnan, meanwhile, said that there was no error in the trial run and the feasibility of four fighter aircraft and one transport aircraft were successfully assessed.
People from nearby villages also flocked to the NH-16 to catch a glimpse of the trials. While heavy vehicles were stopped and diverted, the rest were sent to alternative routes, without disrupting the traffic.
Prakasam collector K.S. Dinesh Kumar, SP Vakul Jindal, joint collector Dr K. Srinivasulu and IAF officials took part in the trials.