ITU and TAI Sign Off on the National Very Light Aircraft
Apr 14, 2017

ITU and Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI), in cooperation, have green-lighted the first "very light aircraft" to be produced domestically. The aircraft, referred to as Very-Light Aircraft (VLA) will be developed and designed by our students in our country. According to the protocol, production of the aircraft will be undertaken by TAI.

With this historic protocol, our students will design and develop a two-person prototype airplane in the VLA category. The production, assembly, integration and testing activities of the aircraft will be completed by TAI with participation by students. It is reported that the design work of the project which will start this month will last one year and that the entire project will be completed within 24 months.


The signing ceremony of the cooperation protocol under the Independent Research and Development Project (I-R&D) for the Development of the Very Light Aircraft (VLA) was attended by our Rector, Prof.Dr. Mehmet Karaca, TAI Chairman of the Board, Prof. Dr. Oğuz Borat, TAI Vice-Chairman of the Board, Ahmet Bertan Nogaylaroğlu, TAI General Manager, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Temel Kotil, TAI Flight Group President Özcan Ertem, our Vice Rector and the coordinator of the project’s ITU portion, Prof. Dr. İbrahim Özkol, Vice Rectors Prof.Dr. Ali Fuat Aydın, Prof. Dr. Telem Gök Sadıkoğlu, Prof.Dr. Alper Ünal, and Prof.Dr. Tayfun Kindap, as well as the General Manager of ITUNOVA TTO, Dr. Ercan ÇİTİL in addition to the project teams.


Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca: “An important contribution from ITU students to the study of national airplanes.”

Speaking at the ceremony, considered the first important step of this collaboration, our Rector, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karaca, emphasized that the ceremony was a historical moment, saying that the people that our university has cultivated will play a role in making the domestic aircraft in the future. Stating that this is one of the best examples of the university-industry cooperation, our Rector added that the project to be run by our students and advisor academics is a source of pride for our university. ITU, owing to its being a pioneer in engineering education, will provide the technical infrastructure of the project (know-how); our Rector, who emphasized that the project will be produced entirely by our students and engineers at İTÜ, also stated that this type of cooperation is also in line with the university’s mission. Underlining the fact that the infancy stage for the domestic aircraft is behind us, our Rector pointed out that the project has matured and that our university is the right address for this job.

Speaking about the project team, our Rector stated: “"At least 25 students, mostly in 3rd year, studying aircraft, space, machinery, electricity, electronics, industrial engineering and industrial design programs will work on this project. In addition to the student group, 11 faculty members from aircraft, electrical and electronic graduate programs will be consulted. TAI will undertake a design consultancy with 11 engineers who will transfer their knowledge to the students in order to give direction to the work and to shape the product. Our students will complete their design studies within one year with the help of our faculty members and the consultancy of TAI engineers."


TAI Chairman Prof. Dr. Oğuz Borat who spoke at the ceremony, noted that the potential our university carries is also reflected onto the institutions. Borat, stating that the work carried out at our university would set an example for similar project with other universities, said he believed that, along with the efforts of TAI General Manager and ITU graduate Assoc. Prof. Dr. Temel Kotil, this energy would spread all over the country.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Temel Kotil: “This start was destined for ITU”

TAI General Manager Assoc. Prof. Dr. Temel Kotil expressed his happiness with this project thanks to the fact that he graduated from the Aircraft Engineering Department in 1983, reuniting with our university where he worked as an academic for more than 10 years. Kotil gave detailed information about the project VLA planes; that they would weigh 700 kg and that it will take our students two years to design it, and that TAI will provide the necessary infrastructure software and information support as well as the production phase in this process. When the project is completed, the aim will be that the aircraft will be awarded a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certificate, and that two people will be able to safely fly in it, creating commercial value. Our alumnus and former faculty member, Kotil, delivered the good news that, after this phase, the plane will be ready for use in civil aviation and that it will be mass produced without further delay. Kotil wrapped up his speech with the following words: “This start was destined for ITU. We want to do these studies not only with ITU but with all the universities in Turkey. "