HJT-36 ‘Sitara’ Lost in an Accident

HJT-36 shown in taxi before takeoff at Farnborough, 2006.

An Intermediate Jet Trainer (HJT-36 Sitara) made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) crashed yesterday in the Tamil Nadu region, Southern India. Group Captain Mathur of HAL and co- pilot, Wing Commander Patra of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) ejected to safety. The aircraft, a developmental model of India’s indigenous intermediate trainer was destroyed in the accident. HAL began designing of the IJT in 1997; the aircraft is scheduled to enter Indian Air Force service in two years. In recent years the program suffered several mishaps, both occurring during takeoff and landing.

HJT-36 shown in taxi before takeoff at Farnborough, 2006.

While the Indian incident ended in material loss only, other accidents involving training missions that took place in the U.S.A and Philippines proved fatal. A Dutch instructor pilot was killed yesterday flying on a training mission with another Dutch AH-64 cadet from Ft. Rucker, Alabama. A statement from the Dutch Ministry of Defense identified the pilot as Captain Van de Perre. The other crew member, a Dutch cadet was wounded in the accident.

Two days ago, in the Philippines, an S-211 of the Philippine Air Force crashed near a village in Northern Philippines, killing the pilot Maj. Ephraim Gatus Suyom. Maj. Gatus flew a routine proficiency flight from Clark Air Force Base when the accident occurred. Following the mishape the Philippine Air Force has grounded all its S211 aircraft until further investigation of the cause of the crash.