March 4, 2024
HJT-16 Kiran [U-718] was converted into a "Cutaway" aircraft and displayed first in June 2005.
HJT-16 Kiran [U-718] was converted into a "Cutaway" aircraft and displayed first in June 2005. Due to the skin being 'cutaway' on the starboard side, the roundel was made smaller and the serial number was painted lower down.

The Academy's collection of instructional aircraft kept growing with the appearance of a 'X-Ray' airframe (cutaway) of a Kiran trainer in June 2005. The aircraft with the number U-718 is a Mark 1 variant that has been converted by the Kiran/HPT-32 TETTRA School at the Academy.

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HAL HJT-16 Kiran [U-718] seen from the port side. The roundel and serial number are at the usual location unlike the starboard side.

U-718's portions of the skin had been removed and the interiors lighted up with fluorescent tubelights to illuminate them. On the starboard side, a long strip of skinning from the back of the canopy to the tail has been removed and covered with Perspex to enable one to see inside the fuselage.

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Close up of the wing leading edges on both sides show the see-through panels and the wing ribs inside. Note the white control rods clearly visible in the picture on the right.

Similar see-through panels have replaced skinning on both leading edges of the wings as show below. While the aircraft retains the regular markings on the port side, the starboard side identifying number and roundel had to be made smaller and moved slightly down to accommodate the see-through panels.

A look inside the fuselage panels showed a long stretch of fluorescent tube lights inside. The lights are connected to an external switchboard/control unit.

The rear fuselage of U-718 shows the cut-away work done on the aircraft. Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge Another view of the rear fuselage of U-718 , this time seen from the tail , looking towards the front of the aircraft.

The history of the airframe is not known, and it does not seem to have been involved in any accident at first glance. Hopefully someone will share as to when the aircraft was relegated to instructional duties. The aircraft was first displayed for the public during the combined graduation parade in June 2005, and it attracted its fair share of attention from the public wanting to know about the workings of a Kiran.

The aircraft proved itself to be a popular attraction when displayed for the first time during the Passing Out Parade at Dundigal in June 2005. Click to Enlarge


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