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Nepal’s own ultralight takes off in Pokhara

Danfe, which is the first ultralight aircraft designed and built in Nepal, finally took off in Pokhara on 6th december. The test flight of Danfe was conducted at Pokhara Airport , three years after it was built by the student of Pulchowk Engineering Campus as part of their academic research .

Russian pilot Alexander Maximov , who received permission to fly Danfe only two days ago , flew the ultralight aircraft for over a minute. The aircraft flew 15-feet off the ground after cruising in the runway for for 95.32 metres at a speed of 73.2 kmph . The test flight was jointly conducted by Pulchowk Engineering Campus and Avia Club Nepal , Pokhara.

The test flight of Danfe coincided with International Civil Aviation Day. The flight was conducted at 4:30 pm after all scheduled flights at the Pokhara Airport had taken off. Danfe, built at a cost of one million rupees, can fly up to 6,000 ft at 100 kmph. It has a capacity of carrying 400 kg during the flight and can fly for two hours with 50 litres of aviation fuel.

The aircraft was designed and developed by Danfe Aircraft Fabrication Group, a group of seven engineering students led by Bikas Parajuli , three years ago. But Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had refused to issue permit for the test flight. However, CAAN permitted test flight for Danfe in Mid-November.

A crowd of curious onlookers gathered at the Pokhara airport to witness the historic flight. Parajuli’s father, Shiva Prasad, who was on a wheelchair, mother Goma and other relatives were also in the crowd. Minister for Science and Technology Ganesh Shah and other high-ranking government officials of Kaski also witnessed the test flight.

Following the successful test flight, Minister Shah felicitated the young scientists and declared that government should bear the expenses incurred while designing and developing the aircraft.
He said the government would allocate a fund of Rs. 10 million for the research and development of science and technology.

“I was ecstatic when Danfe received the permit for the test flight,” an elated Parajuli said, adding his team will now focus on developing an improved version of the aircraft.”The aircraft was built following the Barnauli principle. It’s engine is built as per the Austrian technology,” Parajuliu added. Ramesh Ranabhat, a member of the team, said the aircraft would be upgraded after carrying out necessary research.

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