Country’s first seaplane Jal Hans takes wings
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 01:42
James Bond uses it and now so will island hopping tourists in India. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel launched Jal Hans, the first seaplane of Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited, at a ceremony held in Mumbai today. Patel said the government planned to expand the service to India’s popular island and coastal destinations. The Centre was permitting 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in this sector and service providers like Pawan Hans should float a subsidiary to run a fleet of seaplanes, he added. Seaplanes would also be introduced in other areas of India like Lakshadweep, Goa, Orissa. Seaplane, a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water, is ideal when island is far from land or when there is no landing strip. Unlike regular aircraft, these do not require a large runway. This is the first time that seaplane operations have been introduced in India. Jal Hans is a Cessna Caravan 208 A Amphibian fitted with modern navigation features of any large jet. With a seating capacity of 10, of which eight are passenger seats, it can travel up to 250 km in about an hour and land on most calm waters. It can also land on ground using the wheels configuration. The first seaplane service will be operationalised in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as per an MoU signed between the Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Pawan Hans Helicopters. It will connect Port Blair with Havelock and subsequently other islands in north Andaman. At Port Blair, it will operate from the airport, at Havelock and Diglipur, it will operate from a waterdromme. Facilities for ferrying passengers from the shore to pontoons, sanitisation of the waterdromme before take-off and landing, speed boats with 10-passenger capacity, a standby inflatable Gemini boat and one floating jetty (pontoon) will be provided at each location. According to officials, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been witnessing steady increase in tourist inflow, as the tropical rain forests and waters of the Bay of Bengal are home to a vast collection of plants, animals and marine life. Adventure tourism, including trekking, island camping, snokelling and scuba diving are also becoming popular there. Seaplane operations are expected to boost tourism, they add. Know the amphibian l Fixed-wing aircraft can take off from and land on water and earth surface l Has a seating capacity of 10 and can travel up to 250 km in an hour l Equipped with modern navigation features l First service to be operationalised in Andamans (The Tribune)
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