Sukhoi aircraft crashes near Nashik; both pilots safe

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Nashik, June 27 (PTI): A Sukhoi aircraft, awaiting induction in the Indian Air Force, crashed near here on Wednesday morning, police said.  There were no casualties, police said, adding both the pilots ejected safely before the plane hit ground.

The under-production Sukhoi Su-30MKI twinjet multirole air superiority fighter of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)  crashed in a farm at Wavi-Thushi village near Pimpalgaon Baswant town, around 25 km from Nashik, police said.  The aircraft crashed at 11.05 am and the Pimpalgaon police station received information about the crash at 11.15 am, a police official said.

The aircraft, developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by HAL, had taken off from the HAL airstrip near Nashik, police said. A top official involved with the aircraft production, told PTI that the Sukhoi which crashed today, was the first of the batch produced at the Aircraft Manufacturing Division at HAL Nashik this year.

“Normally around 12 aircraft for a new squadron are manufactured and each aircraft, worth over Rs 300 crore, has a manufacturing cycle of around 3 years,” the official said. “This particular aircraft had completed several flights and was about to be inducted into the IAF,” he said.

Before induction, such aircraft are flown by either HAL pilots or IAF pilots under deputation with HAL, he said.  Asked about villagers seeing three parachutes in the sky after the sky, the official the illusion of the third parachute may be due to the canopy opening first before both the pilots ejected to safety.

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