Hindustan HCP-25


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25 July 2007
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Does anyone have any details on the Hindustan HCP-25 utility transport of the mid-50s?

The HCP-25 is a bit of a mystery. An image of the sole HCP-25 was posted on Bharat Rakshak's IAF history thread forum by "Harry" (same "B Harry" who writes for the Air Combat Information Group?). This is the only photo that I've seen.

I haven't found any other on-line information about the HCP-25 except that only a single prototype was flown. So, not a "secret project" but certainly rare.

The similarities between the HAL HCP-25 and the earlier Noorduyn Norseman are striking. Is this simply a question of convergent evolution? Or is the Bangalore aircraft a descendant of Bob Noorduyn's classic? I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that direct access to the Norseman provided Hindustan with a short-cut to a sturdy utility aircraft design.

I'm not inferring that the HCP-25 was beyond contemporary Indian design capabilities. The Norseman was a simple, perhaps even obvious, design. However, HAL had direct contact with the more than 100* UC-64A Norseman shipped to India during WWII by the USAAF. More on that in my next post ...

* I counted 127 UC-64As shipped to Calcutta or Karachi between Oct 1943 and April 1945 (if anyone wants a list, PM me). I may have missed some c/ns and certainly more were planned (the May 1945 shipments were all redirected to USAAF bases in the 'lower 48').


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I've worked up a speculative 2-view drawing of the HCP-25 based on my assumption that the Hindustan aircraft was derived from the Noorduyn Norseman (any critique or suggestions welcome).

There are two obvious detail differences between the 1950s HAL design and the 1030s Norseman -- the HCP-25's curved vertical tail (more Otter-like than Norseman) and the aerofoil undercarriage attachment stubs. The Norseman had anhedral attachment stubs built up from steel tubing (these simplified the seasonal undercarriage changes required for Canadian bush flying but wouldn't be all that useful in India).

The wings and fuselage are very much like the Noorduyn, differing only in small details -- cabin side windows, twin cabin doors, taller and forward-positioned tail wheel, etc. The wings appear all but identical. The HCP-25's bracing struts attach further out (but that could just be a result of the inboard attachment points). Judging by the fairings, it also seems that HAL abandoned the Norseman's drooping ailerons.

Superficial appearances aside, what suggests that the Noorduyn design influenced Hindustan? As mentioned earlier, HAL was exposed to USAAF UC-64As during WWII. At the end of the war, 39 Norseman were sold in India (1 in China, another 8 left India). Some 28 USAAF UC-64s in India were disposed of for salvage, at least 19 were condemned (although some flew again postwar, eg: c/n 191 (ex 43-5200) as VT-AZR with Mistri Airways, Bombay.*

To me, the strongest evidence of a direct connection is ex-USAAF UC-64A Norseman sold as surplus to the Hindustan Aircraft. This Norseman (c/n 736, formerly 44-70471) was registered as VT-CGS in October 1946. Hindustan cancelled the registration for VT-CGS in 1952. Was the HAL Norseman written off or was it taken to pieces as a pattern aircraft (or even to provide components) for the HCP-25?

Can anyone shed light on any of this?

* See the Noorduyn Norseman website: http://www.noorduynnorseman.com/


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If no-one has anything specific about the HCP-25, perhaps somebody can shed light on Indian markings?

The registration (?) on the fuselage side is hard to make out but seems to read 82-431 or B2-431 (or maybe -451). Neither variation looks like an Indian civil registration (VH-xxx) or Indian Air Force serial (usually XX000 or X0000 with no hyphens).

The illegible tail markings are probably an old HAL logo.
Thanks to my previous life at Aerospace Publishing I did have some contact with people at HAL. I will have a dig around and see what I can find out
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looking the photograph, the fuselage length seems to be a bit longer than the base Norseman airframe, @5+ft spliced in aft of the wing ?
(from a modelling perspective, interestingly this brings the fuselage length from Norseman to halfway to that of an Otter !)

cheers, Joe
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