NAGPUR: The prolonged wait for the services of a helicopter in the state anti-naxal operation (ANO) cell operating against the Maoist insurgency has just stretched for another month or two. The 10-seater Pawan Hans Dauphin N3 chopper, which had arrived in the city to aide the ANO, has reportedly been grounded by the extreme heat.
This helicopter had been requisitioned with much effort by the ANO to help during operations against the outlaws in the forested terrain of eastern Vidarbha. Sources have informed that the helicopter has reportedly developed some 'technical snag' due to the high temperatures in the region.
Sources in ANO claimed that the high atmospheric heat has lowered the payload capacity of the chopper, meaning the chopper cannot lift the weight it is meant to carry. The helicopter has been sourced from the state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopters limited. A technical team from the company is reportedly facing a testing time in getting the chopper airborne with the expected load due to the lowered payload capacity. "The technical and expert teams are attending to the problem, and it is likely to get sorted out soon," said a senior ANO officer on condition of anonymity.
Aviation experts though do not support the hopeful statements of the ANO officers. "When the outside temperature is high, the air density is low. This low-density air entering the engine means that the fuel combustion is low," said Kapil Mohan, an aircraft maintenance engineer. He added, "When the fuel combustion is low, the efficiency of the engine also goes down. And in effect, the power generated by the engine is insufficient for the chopper to get air-borne with the expected load."
Mohan was of the opinion that this being a tricky problem, the ANO may just have to wait for the temperatures to go down before their chopper takes off.