Today Nepal Airlines Harbin Y12-E that was planned to carry out test flight for Lukla airport couldn’t accomplish due to the adverse weather and imposed diversion to the Ramechhap Airport, which was planned into the action after the four years of its introduction to NAC fleet.
According to the officials, Corporation has deployed its one Harbin Y12-E with registration ‘9N-AKV’ on the test flight. NAC flight crews along with the officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) were jointly in the test flight of the aircraft.
The test landing of the aircraft could not performed at Lukla Airport at around 09 AM today following the adverse weather conditions and was diverted to Ramechhap Aircraft.
Previously On November 23, 2017, NAC had scheduled to carry out a test landing of its Chinese made Harbin Y12-E to Lukla Airport but the plan failed due to the lack of Instructor Pilot.
The 17-seater Y12e arrived in Kathmandu in 2014 and was intended to serve remote mountain airfields like Lukla, Jomsom, Manang, Simikot, Rara, Jumla and Dolpa. But its regulatory limit meant that it could only fly to airports with a maximum grade of up to 2 percent or about 1.2 degrees of slope.
As a result, the Y12e was only operated on the Pokhara and Simara sectors, pending the issuance of a certificate by the manufacturer clearing it to serve airports with a slope of more than 2 degrees.
The runway at Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport has an 11-degree slope. Most of the short take-off and landing (STOL) airfields in Nepal including Lukla in Khumbu are above the regulatory limit.
The aircraft manufacturer has to issue a gradient certificate after the test flight according to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). According to a statement by a CAAN official, on the respective airfield, the manufacturer will then develop a procedural design of the aircraft. CAAN will then acknowledge the technical design permitting the aircraft of that type to fly. Although the Harbin Yunshuji Y12-II has been described as the best aircraft to serve STOL airfields and had made thousands of flights all over Nepal, austere enforcement of latest regulations by CAAN to ensure safety has prohibited the Y12e from flying to mountain airstrips.
The aircraft can carry 12 passengers in all-weather conditions from Biratnagar to Taplejung. Likewise, on the Jomsom-Pokhara route, it can fly with 16 passengers in all-weather conditions; but on the return flight, the passenger load has to be reduced to 14, the officials said.
Presently, the STOL aircraft like Dornier DO228, LET-410UVP and Twin otter are used to connect the airfield to the country capital.