The men behind Indias first 20-seater plane

MUMBAI: What is common in a senior commander with Jet Airways, a former Air Vice Marshal, an engineer with ISRO’s space programme, a senior Maharashtra government official, an IITian and a Hindustan Aeronautics official--they are connected to a common goal – building India’s first 20-seater passenger aircraft.

On Monday, the Maharashtra government will be holding a crucial meet to clear the decks for alloting 157 acres in Palghar to Amol Yadav’s (a senior commander with Jet Airways)dream project of mass producing a 20-seater indigeniously designed aircraft. The first prototype of the aircraft is likey to get ready within 15 months from the date of allotment of land.

Yadav has been in the news after building a 6-seater passenger plane (TAC 003) on the terrace of his building in Charkop, Mumbai. The aircraft also featured in the inaugural ‘Make in India’ programme at BKC last year.

When asked, Yadav credits the involvement of several key men for the project to become a reality.

“Air Vice Marshal Murali Sundaram, Ashish Poddar of Sun Vision Technologies, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ OSD Kaustubh Dhavse have been helping me out in ensuring that my dream is translated into reality,” says Yadav.

According to him, he also got a lot of help from an IIT Bombay professor of aeronautical engineering and a senior Hindustan Aeronautics’ official. However, both refused to be named in the story as they could not speak without government’s permission.

Air Vice Marshal Sundaram said, “I met him (Amol Yadav) in 2007, he was my co-pilot. He kept talking about how he was going to build an aircraft. At that time, I thought this was one of those young guys talking. However, he surprised me two years back when he showed me the aircraft.”

While Sundaram credits Yadav ‘entirely’ for building the aircraft, the latter compliments the retired Air Vice Marshal for the project. “He has taught me a lot, he has made me understand the aviation business, guided me about regulatory approvals and the process. He has taught me the intricacies of the aviation sector,” said Yadav.

I realised that we had gone to the same school. There was no doubt at all in my mind because when he spoke, he made sense. He was an engineer before he became a pilot. So, we worked together on the aircraft, designed its gear box and many other things,” said Poddar.

Yadav also credits Kaustubh Dhavse, OSD to Fadnavis, for helping him with the project. “Dhavse has played a big role in encouraging us and pushing us for the project, even the Chief Minister played a big role in ensuring that we got all the clearances.”