Prakasam (Andhra Pradesh) [India], December 29 (ANI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully conducted a trial run of the 4.1 km long and 33-metre-wide 'emergency landing facility (ELF)' constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on a national highway in Andhra Pradesh, the officials said on Thursday.
The flights flew 100 metres above the ground, they said.
The landing facility has been constructed at Picchikalagudipadu village of Prakasam district on the National Highway-16.
The officials said that to check the feasibility of ELF, IAF's aircraft from Southern Air Command participated in the trials.
According to NHAI officials, the highway stretches will be blocked in case of an emergency and put to use exclusively for the landing of aircraft. The airstrips can be used for strategic purposes as well as during natural calamities for rescue and relief operations.
"In 2018, the Centre decided to develop airstrips on the national highways in different States to operate aircraft when road or rail routes get disrupted and to shift men and material during emergencies," NHAI officials said.
"ELF airstrips are being set up in AP, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir. Two such airstrips are already operational in UP and Rajasthan," they said.
V.M. Reddy, South peninsular commander said that Air Force Station Suryalanka is the nearest IAF airbase to the emergency landing facility, and it will facilitate activation of the airstrip in coordination with the District Administration and State Police when required.
"Flight trail run gave immense pleasure to all of us. We are happy to see the planes in our district. Till now we haven't seen the flights to and fro operations. Today the district and the state are very happy to see the emergency landing of planes," Srinivas, a visitor said.
Rani, a school student said, "We have seen various types of planes today and are expecting more development to be done in future. Some of the children came out of school to see the landing of planes. Many of them enjoyed without any age discrimination." (ANI)