Heralding a new technological advancement, the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) has conducted an experimental test flight for cloud seeding earlier this week.
The feat was achieved on Wednesday after getting due approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The project is headed by Prof Manindra Agrawal from the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department.
Cloud seeding involves the utilisation of chemical agents such as silver iodide, dry ice, common salt etc with the aim of enhancing the probability of precipitation or simply rainfall especially in arid, dry and rain deficient regions such as Bundelkhand.
In the experiment, a Cessna aircraft was flown from the IIT Kanpur flight laboratory airstrip with cloud seeding attachments. The test flight went up to an approximate height of 5,000 ft.
These attachments were procured from the US, and the modifications in the aircraft were approved both by the Cessna manufacturer as well as the DGCA. The test flight spread the agents using a flare, as is standard practice.
“We did not fire flares into the clouds since it was a trial for equipment only. The successful test flight implies that we’re now prepared to run a cloud seeding in later stages and make it a success,” said Agrawal.
“We have been working on this project for a few years now. There was a delay in the procurement processes due to Covid. But now, after the approval from DGCA and successful completion of first trial, we are close to completing the setup,” he noted.
IIT Kanpur was established on November 2, 1959 by an Act of Parliament. The Institute has a sprawling campus spread over 1,055 acres with large pool of academic and research resources spanning across 19 departments, 22 centres, and 3 Interdisciplinary programs in engineering, science, design, humanities, and management disciplines with 540 full-time faculty members and approximately 9,000 students.
The Institute has been active in research and development in areas of value to both industry and government.