Indian Pipistrel Virus microlight marks first crash

Two Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots were killed when their Pipistrel Virus SW 80 Garud microlight aircraft crashed in the northeastern Indian state of Assam on 15 February.

The incident took place at about 1200 h (local time) after the aircraft took off from Air Force Station Jorhat for a routine training flight.

Wing commanders Jai Paul James and D Vats suffered fatal injuries in the crash.

The pilots had attempted an emergency landing but the crashed near the river island of Majuli in Assam, and the aircraft was completely charred.

The fatal crash comes, despite the aircraft being equipped with safety features likes Ballistic Parachute Rescue System and several other safety enhancing features, such as Energy Attenuation Seats and a KevlarTM reinforced cockpit cell.

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Pipistrel was awarded the contract by Indian MoD to supply 194 Virus SW 80 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (72 aircraft), Indian Navy (12 aircraft) and National Cadet Corps (110 aircraft) in October 2015.

The two-seat trainer is capable of take-off and landing from prepared as well as semi-prepared surfaces and is made from advanced carbon-fibre composite materials.

The aircraft is powered by an 80 HP aviation certified Rotax engine and can reach a maximum speed of more than 220 km/h, fly for more than 3 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 6000 meters.

More than 100 Indian Virus SW 80 are believed to be delivered, since first delivery in August 2016.