HAL Pushpak

The HAL HUL-26 Pushpak was a light utility aircraft built by HAL Bangalore to meet ther requirements of Indian Flying Clubs. The aircraft was a licensed copy of the Aeronca Super Chief built in the US and first flew in 1958. Aeronca sold the Super Chief Model 11 type certificate to E. J. Trytek of Syracuse, NY. Though Mr Trytek did not manufacture any airplanes, but he did license Hindustan Aircraft of India to build the Chief as the HUL-26 'Pushpak'. 154 'Pushpaks' were built from 1958 to 1968.

An interesting story on how this partnership of HAL to start manufacturing the Pushpak is narrated by Phil Ward on the Aeronca Site's guestbook. Though we many not vouch if the facts are true, it is worth archiving the story for future study. View Page 2 in Table of Contents

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HAL HUL-26 Pushpak VT-DWL (Left) was donated to the government of Malaysia. Later it was sold to a British Businessman and was shipped to UK to fly as G-AVPO. Photos Courtesy Dr. K S Raman

The Pushpaks were started being phased out by the flying clubs towards the begining of the 80s and a couple of them are now flying in the United Kingdom as restored "Indian Copies" of the Aeronca.

One of the first examples was Pushpak VT-DWL. The aircraft was originally donated to the Malaysian government in 1967 by the then Indian Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi. The aircraft was registered as 9M-AOZ and almost never flew from the start as it lacked a radio. The aircraft gathered dust in a hangar for nearly ten years till the time Mr. James Campbell acquired it and got it shipped to the UK.

Later, It was bought by Andy and Jeff Remington and restored painstakingly. They were helped in thier endeavour by Dr. K S Raman, who was with the National Aeronautical Laboratories in Bangalore at that time. Dr. Raman supplied hand copied drawings and photographs that helped in the restoration of the aircraft. The aircraft finally had its first flight in 1984 with the registration G-AVPO. The aircraft now flies in the UK, carrying a small Indian flag on the engine cowling in the front.

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Hindustan HUL 26 Pushpak G-BXTO, operated by Pete Kelsey and partners, seen on the day of its first flight in November 1999 after full restoration. The aircraft was initially VT-DWM. Photo courtesy : Aeronca UK

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Another Pushpak is operated by Mr. Pete Kelsey in UK. The aircraft in its previous avatar was VT-DWM and is now registered as G-BXTO in the United Kingdom. There are rumours of atleast one Pushpak making its way to the United States.

Aircraft TypeIndian IdCurrent IdCurrent Location
HUL-26 PushpakVT-DWLG-AVPOFlying in UK
HUL-26 PushpakVT-DWMG-BXTOFlying in UK

Sources:
1. Aircraft Illustrated January 1986.
2. Aeronca UK Site at http://www.aeronca.flyer.co.uk
3. Dr. K S Raman, National Aerospace Laboratories.

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