Mahindra NM5 to Revolutionize Domestic Air Travel
With its headquarters based in Mumbai, India, and a significant presence in Australia, the Mahindra Group launched its Aerospace Division in 2007 for the purpose of extending its design and manufacturing expertise in the rapidly developing aerospace industry. The latest achievement of the Mahindra Aerospace Division is the five-seat all-metal NM5 aircraft, developed over a three year period as a collaborative project between the Mahindra Group and the state-run CSIR National Aerospace Laboratories. Considered to be a milestone in India’s domestic civil aviation, as well as a notable achievement in partnerships between the public and private sector, it is anticipated that the NM5 will help to revolutionize Indian transportation over the next ten years.
With five successful tests completed in the past ten days, the next step is to qualify for Federal Aviation Regulation 23 (FAR23) certification for safety. FAR23 sets comprehensive safety standards to be met for airworthiness, including areas such as stability, performance, structural loads, airframe, safety mechanisms, oxygen and air pressurization systems, construction of seats, escape hatches, fire prevention, flight control communications, flight management procedures, and emergency landing procedures. It also stipulates aspects of performance including rate of climb, take off speed, stall speed, and the weight restrictions of pilot and passengers.
It is anticipated that obtaining FAR23 certification for the new aircraft could take up to six months. Upon FAR23 certification, the aircraft will proceed to commercial development and is expected to be marketed at around US$400,000. It will also be the only five-seat airplane in its class. The plane is powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine. The prototype was built by a team at the Australia-based Mahindra Aerospace subsidiary, GippsAero, over a period of ten months. Current and future flight testing is being done at this facility in Melbourne.
In a recent press release, the Mahindra Group Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Anand Mahindra, was quoted as saying that the maiden flight of the NM5 was a matter of great pride for the company and is part of their goal to provide transportation solutions to isolated communities. It was also noted that the NM5 complements the growing range of light utility aircraft manufactured by Mahindra Aerospace, all of which are designed to meet global safety standards and are able to operate in varied environments.