The factory made two new Piper Archer aircrafts manufactured by Piper Aircraft, USA are soon to have its maiden flights in the skies of Nepal. The two aircraft arrived Nepal Army facility in the month of February this year straight from the manufacturer in the USA inside a container. The aircraft thereafter went the reassembling process inside the hangars of Army in Tribhuvan International Airport and is in the final phase now. Test pilots have arrived and the aircraft is in final phase to be ready to fly. After the test flight is successful, the two aircraft would be handed over to Directorate General of Army Aviation by the manufacturer.
The aircraft had to be ready to fly within a couple of months from its arrival date. However, the engines had to be tested on Germany before the final assembly due to which the assembly process was delayed, according to a highly placed source. The engines had then been dispatched to Germany and have already been received back after final tests. After the engines arrived TIA, the final assembly was resumed and the aircraft now are nearing the completion.
The test pilot has arrived Nepal and pilots of Nepal Army are preparing to conduct the test flight. The test flight is likely to be scheduled this Friday the source informed. The aircraft will be used specifically for new pilot training within the organization the source noted.
Nepal Army has a strategic plan of extending its fleet size to 31 by 2022 and extending its air wing bases to West Air Base in Surkhet and East Air Base in Biratnagar. The fleet in 2022 is anticipated to include 11 Fixed Wing aircraft and 20 Rotary Wing aircraft.
For this Nepal Army is soon going to receive a CN-235 aircraft on September, two M28 Skytrucks in December this year. The fleet size of fixed-wing aircraft will reach 04 after the successful test flight of these Archer aircraft.