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Jakarta Post

Habibie’s historic N250 prototype aircraft to be on display at Yogyakarta museum

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Thu, August 20, 2020   /   03:24 pm
Habibie’s historic N250 prototype aircraft to be on display at Yogyakarta museum Aerospace expertise: The N250 Gatotkaca prototype is parked inside the fix wing hangar of state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia on Sept. 12. The aircraft was produced under the supervision and based on the design of Indonesia’s former president, the late BJ Habibie, when he served as president director of PT Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara. (JP/Arya Dipa)

State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in Bandung, West Java, is set to hand over the Gatotkaca N250 Prototype Aircraft 01 (PA01) to the Dirgantara Mandala Central Museum in Yogyakarta.

The N250 was the first aircraft produced from the grand strategy of technology development launched by the late president BJ Habibie when he was the research and technology minister.

PTDI corporate communications and promotion manager Adi Prastowo said the transfer of the aircraft was stipulated in Air Force Chief of Staff Decree (SKEP) No. 284/2020.

“The handover of the N250 to [the museum] is a way to safeguard state assets since the N250 has high historical value,” Adi said in a statement on Thursday.

The aircraft, he said, marked the establishment of the aerospace industry and thus it was expected to provide educational and motivational value for younger people visiting the museum. The PTDI had dismantled the aircraft’s access panels in the main parts, including the engine and propeller, as well as the main structure, consisting of the body, wings and vertical stabilizer, he said.

Dismantling the aircraft would reduce the risk of damaging the aircraft's parts, which would be transferred by land, before they were reinstalled in Yogyakarta, Adi added.

A number of officials from the PTDI and the military, including Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, Air Force chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo and PTDI president director Elfien Goentoro, are scheduled to attend the reception on Aug. 25 at the museum.

In 1989, Habibie introduced the N250 turboprop aircraft at the Paris Airshow, Le Bourget, France. On Nov. 10, 1994 it left the hangar and was taken by 50 employees of the Nusantara Aircraft Industry (before becoming PTDI).

The name Gatotkaca was given by then-president Soeharto. He also named three other three prototypes, namely the Krincingwesi, Koconegoro and Putut Guritno.

On Aug. 10, 1995, the N250 under the PK-XNG registration successfully made its first flight, witnessed by Soeharto and then-first lady Tien Soeharto, as well as then-vice president Try Sutrisno and his wife Tuti Sutiawati.

Following the monetary 1998 crisis, the certification of  the N250 was hampered as the International Monetary Fund, while lending funds to Indonesia, included the terms of the N250 project termination.

National Technology Awakening Day is now celebrated every year on Aug. 10. (syk)