Aviation Safety Survey-Oct 2019

01 Oct 19.Snag in Air India One, Prez stuck in Zurich for hrs.

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight from to Slovenia was delayed on Sunday after the Boeing 747 that was to fly as AI One developed a snag. According to sources, the president drove to Zurich airport where a last-minute glitch on the 26-year-old jumbo jet (VT-ESO) was suspected. The VVIP returned to his hotel and AI aircraft engineers immediately started working on the aircraft “Khajuraho”.

During this time, an AI that was to operate on London-Mumbai sector with a schedule departure time of 1.15 pm (local time London) as flight 130 was kept on standby at Heathrow as alternate AI One to be flown to Zurich for the President’s journeys if needed.

Luckily AI engineers rectified the jumbo jet which then flew President Kovind to Slovenia with a delay of a few hours. And AI 130 flew to Mumbai at 2.30 pm (local time London) from Heathrow without requiring to fly as alternate AI One to Zurich, say sources.

Keeping an Air India aircraft at a foreign base nearest from where AI One has to operate as standby is a regular practice. This overseas trip of President Kovind first made news when Pakistan on September 7 denied permission for it to fly over its airspace from India to Europe and back.

Comments by ASMSI.

It was fortunate that the technical glitch was discovered before the aircraft took off. The aircraft being used for the President was 26 years old. It is well known that old aircraft are heavy on maintenance and chances of snags occurring are quite high. Air India Engineering Staff measured up to expectations to rectify the snag within a short period and their prompt professional response should be appreciated.

 

02 Oct 19-Runway breach: 2 Indigo pilots lose license.

New Delhi: The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday suspended license of two Indigo pilots for runway incursion at the Delhi airport on June 2, this year. The plane was on its way to Udaipur from Delhi.

During the inquiry, the pilot in command had accepted his lapses and explained that this happened due to a brief distraction by the movement of another aircraft on the adjacent runway.


During the investigations, the DGCA found that the two pilots did not follow the “Hold at Holding Point RWY 10” (Runway 10) instructions from the Air Traffic Control.

“The plane breached RWY Holding Point RWY 10 and reached near active runway while landing aircraft 6E-6683 had already crossed the threshold of the active RWY10,” the DGCA said in its report.

It added that the crew of Indigo 6E-2746 did not pay attention to taxiway markings and applied brakes when they saw the other landing aircraft close to runway.

While noting that the crew jeopardised the safety of the passengers and the aircraft, the DGCA said that the act of pilots was in violation of its circular that “flight crews should use a continuous loop process for actively monitoring and updating their progress and location during taxi. This includes knowing the aircraft’s present location and mentally calculating the next location on the route that will require increased attention.”

Comments by ASMSI.

 

We need to thank God for preventing a catastrophic accident. The carelessness on the part of the Pilots has been duly punished by the DGCA with the suspension of their license. Suspending the licenses of the Pilots, which of course conveys a stern message to other Pilots to be careful, alone may not prevent similar occurrences in future. DGCA may consider taking the action against the Accountable Manager, Head of Flight Safety and Training. Unless the top management is involved in prevention of accidents, all other attempts to promote safety will not give the desired results. Hence, it is essential that the Accountable executive and the Heads of Flight Safety, Operations and Training should be held accountable for any lapses on safety front.

The CRM training standards must improve and adequate emphasis should be laid on the communication related problems and need to maintain high levels of Situational Awareness. Lack of attention, distraction, complacency and casual attitude have led to number of accidents. At busy airports like Delhi and other Metros, one cannot afford to be negligent in any way and need to check, recheck and double check to avoid any mishaps. Hope other Operators and Pilots will learn lessons from the incident and contribute towards safe flying environments.

 

 

03 Oct 19.Air India Fears Rs. 22 Crore Loss after Engine Falls During Installation.

 

New Delhi: Flag carrier Air India has been hit by yet another incident involving its engineering unit. In the latest case, one of its CFM engines fell off while being installed on an Airbus 320 airplane, with the damage estimated to be in several crores.
An official said that the incident happened on September 30 in Mumbai and an enquiry has been ordered. The airline has informed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation about the incident.
“The engineering department should be held accountable for it after thorough enquiry. The airline cannot afford such carelessness. It has been estimated that the loss on account of the incident could be as much as Rs. 22 crore,” an official said.
Air India’s engineering unit has been under scrutiny for frequent breakdowns, especially in foreign countries.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Shocking state of affairs in the airline. Such carelessness in installation of the Engine which led to the loss of almost 22 Crores is extremely serious and speaks very poorly about the maintenance practices and safety standards in the Airline.  Hope the personnel responsible for such serious lapse including the senior engineering staff along with the Accountable executive will be taken to task and other operators will learn lessons from this gross negligence.

 

04 Oct 19.Lucky escape for private chopper pilot from rotor blades

New Delhi: Pilot of a chopper with Haryana ex-chief minister BS Hooda on board was injured by the main rotor blade when the Agusta 109C was preparing to operate from Faridabad to Delhi on Thursday.

The pilot was standing outside the chopper during engine startup. Luckily the rotors were slow at that time and the pilot managed to duck in time, escaping with an injury on the forehead. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has sent a team to Palli village of Faridabad where the chopper had landed and is now grounded there.

“An Agusta 109C helicopter (VT-ATA) chopper belonging to (Delhi-based) Aerotech Aviation operated a non-schedule (charter) flight from Delhi to Faridabad’s Palli village on Thursday. During return flight when the chopper engine started in Faridabad, one of the pilots got hurt on the forehead,” said a senior DGCA official. The operator had told the regulator that the pilot went to a local hospital for check-up and that ex-CM BS Hooda was on board the chopper at that time.

There is no damage to the helicopter, which is now grounded in Faridabad. “This kind of thing happens when safety instructions are not followed. Luckily there was no fatality and the pilot suffered a minor injury on the forehead. The pilot went into the danger area inadvertently, probably not assessing the situation prior to departure. A DGCA officer has been sent to the site for investigation. Details of this case are being ascertained,” the official added.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

The accident shows the lack of Safety Culture, Situational Awareness, sense of complacency and casual attitude on the part of the Pilot. Fortunately, the Pilot escaped with minor injuries. 

 

09 Oct 19Airline, DGCA let off pilot despite unsafe landing; while another who stuck to SOP, grounded for a year

Mumbai: Air India and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) top brass allegedly stepped in to protect a pilot who willfully jeopardized the lives of passengers when landing a Delhi-Hong Kong flight early this year. In another similar incident, an Air India pilot who followed the safety norms to correct an unsafe approach and carry out a go-around for a safe landing was grounded for close to a year. The pilot who endangered lives was back to flying in three months.
The two cases highlight the arbitrary manner in which certain incidents that have a bearing on flight safety are handled.
“No pilot should be under the fear of being grounded for taking corrective action. But Air India and DGCA’s biased handling to these two Hong Kong incidents sends a different message,” said a senior commander requesting anonymity.
On the morning of February 08, Air India flight AI-310 had descended to about 800 feet and was a minute away from the Hong Kong airport runway when a loud, aural “TOO LOW GEAR” warning blared in the cockpit, cautioning that the pilots had forgotten to lower the landing gear.
“It was an unambiguous situation. The aircraft was at 800 feet with the landing gear up. The commander should have discontinued the approach (descent) to land and initiated a go-around (abort landing, climb out and return for a fresh attempt at landing) because there wasn’t enough time for the landing gear to be lowered and most importantly, locked safely into position before touchdown,” said a source.
However the AI-310 commander continued with the descent. At 500 feet, the crew selected the landing flaps. Once the landing gear is lowered, the aircraft’s speed and descent profile changes. The norm is to lower the flaps first and after the aircraft has stabilised, the landing gear is lowered. “The aircraft should be configured for landing, with landing flaps and landing gear down and locked before it crosses 1000 feet. But both these actions were carried out when the aircraft was less than a minute from the runway,” the source added.
It was a lucky day for the passengers as the landing gear had locked into position before touchdown.
The Hong Kong aviation authorities informed Air India and DGCA. The commander was immediately grounded by Air India flight safety department and the case was taken to DGCA, Mumbai. “In a brow-raising turn of events, a DGCA official wrote to AI calling it a minor incident and asked AI to carry out an internal inquiry,” said a source.

Meanwhile, AI flight safety department had carried out a detailed technical analysis of the incident and as per the norm, gave its recommendations to AI executive director (operations). He passed on the recommendations for necessary action. The recommendations were that the said commander should undergo corrective training and 250 hours of flying under supervision of a check pilot.

However that did not happen as an AI director, a board member, stepped in and intervened. “He overruled the AI flight safety department recommendations, overstepped the authority of ED (operations) and cleared the commander to fly after just one day refresher training,” said the source. “He doesn’t have the authority to overrule this,” the source said.

In October 2018, the pilots of flight AI-310 were carrying out an approach and had descended below 1000 feet, when they received a “TOO LOW TERRAIN” cockpit warning. “Keeping with safety norms, the pilots initiated a go-around at 230 feet. The commander was grounded, the matter was taken up for investigation by the DGCA, but for over a year, they kept him on ground,” said the source. “It sends out a wrong message. The pilot who carried out a go-around was grounded for close to a year, while the one who did not carry out a go-around and thus endangered the safety of the aircraft and passengers was back to flying in three months,” the source added.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

 If the facts reported by media are true than the action taken by Air India and may be DGCA is not justified. DGCA has given clear instructions that a missed approach and go around will not invite any questioning or punitive action against the pilot. Action against the Pilot to Ground him for the occurrences seems unjustified. In the second case where the Pilot had continued the approach below 1000 ft without lowering undercarriage and flaps which were lowered after the warning by EGPWS below 500 ft, is a serious lapse. The Pilot in question should have gone around rather than continuing the approach which could have jeopardized safe landing. The action of the airline and DGCA may send wrong signals among Pilots and Pilots may not go around for fear of punitive action leading to Safety compromise.

 

09 Oct 19-Hard-landing A319 not withdrawn for checks for days

Indian investigators have revealed that an Air India Airbus A319 which suffered a severe hard landing at Chennai was released to continue flying and not taken out of service for five days.

The aircraft had landed on Chennai’s runway 25, with a descent rate of 400ft/min, touching down initially with a 1.6g impact before bouncing.

Five seconds later it contacted the runway again, this time with a descent rate of 912ft/min, and the impact was much harder at more than 3.5g.

Airbus considers a hard landing to be above 2.6g and a severe hard landing to be above 2.86g.

The Indian DGCA says an automatic load report was not generated, and the captain instead took a manual report from the computer – which showed a 1.59g impact – and consulted with a maintenance engineer.

It points out that only a verbal exchange took place and the matter was not recorded in the technical log.

After a visual inspection, and in the absence of a formal abnormal record, the aircraft was released to service.

It then operated for a further 30 sectors over the next few days until, on 3 October, a routine flight-operations monitoring analysis picked up the unusually-high 3.5g impact recorded during the landing.

Airbus subsequently examined the flight-data recorder information and classified the event as a severe hard landing, adding that preliminary assessment showed “exceedance” of loads on the fuselage, wings and main landing-gear.
The aircraft, a 2009 airframe, was eventually grounded in Bangalore on 4 October, five days after the incident.

 

 

Comments by ASMSI.

A very serious lapse and more serious is the attempt to cover up such serious incident by the concerned personnel. Possibly, the attempts to cover up were made due to fear of punitive action against them by Airline, DGCA. All the Pilots have an element of fear of investigation, suspension, loss of job and try to cover up their errors. The Just culture though published on DGCA CAR’s is not being implemented. Unless the principle of Just Culture is practiced with all the sincerity by the airlines and DGCA, such attempt to cover up are likely to continue.

 

12 Oct 19-Safety concerns over two lakh illegal drones in India: Experts.

Hyderabad: Raising concerns over safety aspects, experts said over two lakh illegal drones are operating in India and only 800 are approved by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

They also pointed out that most of the drones used in weddings are illegal, while drone manufacturers said the draconian laws are hitting the industry hard.

He said only five companies manufacturing drones are compliant with DGCA rules. “Local police can issue an NOC and it is DGCA which has to issue a license to operate a drone,” he said.

Experts also raised the issue of insurance for drones and called for mandatory liability. Singh explained that insurance companies are not willing to insure drones and even third party insurance is not available in  case of a mishap.

“Representatives of the ministry of home affairs have attended only one out of 10 consultation meetings on drone regulations. All the departments work in isolation and there is a need for a mission-mode approach,” he stressed.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

DGCA has done well to publish comprehensive Drone regulations and the trials of the Drone Operations are soon to be conducted by some agencies after approval of DGCA.The figures of illegal drones quoted are staggering and pose a serious hazard to aircraft, helicopters as well as Security. Commercial use of drone is the need of the hour and all the Govt departments should work towards commercial use of drones in safe and efficient manner. Local law enforcement agencies should be fully involved to ensure that the illegal operations of drones are checked on highest priority. The rules pertaining to the use of drones should be user friendly and over regulation may prove counterproductive. The issues related to insurance cover and compliance of rules, regulations need to be resolved on priority.

13 Oct 19-Amid drone sightings, security forces cleared to shoot down UAV on international border.

New Delhi: : At a time when Pakistan-backed terror groups are using small drones to smuggle weapons and narcotics into India, the security forces have been given clearance to shoot down drones flying at 1,000 feet or below.
“Security agencies deployed along the international border have been given the clearance to shoot down drone crossing the boundary and flying at 1,000 feet and below,” government sources told ANI.
For any drone flying at heights above 1,000 feet, the final clearance will have to be taken from the agencies concerned as the flying object can be an aero plane also, the sources said.
Recently, the security forces including the Border Security Force have been spotting small drones crossing the international border in Punjab where the Chinese-origin unmanned aerial vehicles have even been used to supply assault rifles and drugs.

 

Comments by ASMSI

 

The attempt to smuggle weapons and narcotics using Drone is a new game plan of our incorrigible neighbor. The intelligence agencies should have known this new tactics of Pakistan. It is almost impossible to detect and shoot down small Drones that too in such large area of line of control or international border. Military, Security, DRDO and intelligence agencies have to put their heads together to fight this menace before the ISI is able to pump in enough arms, ammunition and narcotics  in cahoots with the smugglers and militants.

 

13 Oct 19-A year after AIE plane’s close shave, runway expansion drags on.

Trichy: A year after a Dubai-bound Air India Express flight had a narrow escape after hitting the compound wall of the international airport here, there is no sign of the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) releasing its report on the cause of the incident. Worse still, land acquisition for expanding the runway, the shortest in an international airport in the country, has been progressing at a snail’s pace.
The accident, experts said, necessitated expanding the runway length from 8,136 feet to 12,000 feet. Revenue officials who are responsible for speeding up land acquisition for runway expansion continue to claim that work is on.
Out of the 510 acres required for expansion, 165 acres is with defense ministry.
Though the state government has to give alternate land to the ministry for acquiring it, the process has been dragging on.

 

Comments by ASMSI

A very serious incident had occurred to Air India Express aircraft when during takeoff, it hit the boundary wall of the airport. Of course R/W length of 8136 Ft was not responsible for the incident and it was probably error of judgment. However, since the Runway Length at Trichy airport is the lowest in the country for an International airport, a decision has been taken to increase the length of the Runway to 12000 Ft. However, the State revenue Department is believed to be dragging its feet and land acquisition is getting delayed. Such projects which have bearing on the safety of Aviation Operations, must be given high priority by all concerned, particularly by the State Govt.

 

13 Oct 19-Air India flight to Dubai diverted after technical glitch.

An Air India flight from Bangalore to Dubai was diverted to Oman on Saturday night after it developed technical issues, according to a media report.
Flight 993, travelling from Bangalore via Goa to Dubai, was forced to land in the Muscat International Airport after it developed “some engine problems”.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

Snag can occur on any aircraft any time. However, if we go by statistics, the occurrences of snags is quite high on Air India and Air India Express. One reason may be that most of the fleet of Air India is quite old and another may be the financial crunch the airline is facing due to very high debt servicing. DGCA may like to keep a close watch on the Airlines Operations and Maintenance practices, particularly in view of the disinvestment of Air India where some employees may become upset and casual.

15 Oct 19-Solo’ flight crash: Hyderabad’s Wings Aviation loses flying school license.

 

New Delhi: Hyderabad-based Wings Aviation Pvt Ltd has been stripped of its flying training organisation (FTO) license by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The action comes after a probe into an October 6 accident of a trainer aircraft of Wings Aviation which had claimed the lives of two pilots on board. The ill-fated incident was supposed to be a solo training one with only the trainee pilot on board and no one else.

Unscrupulous flying schools in India and abroad routinely send either two students or a trainee and a trainer on flights that are earmarked as “solo” flights to save costs or ensure their expensive plane is not being flown by a trainee alone — something which is plain illegal. DGCA chief Arun Kumar who is known for his zero tolerance for safety issues, is learnt to have flying schools under his scanner.


The regulator had issued a show cause to Begumpet Airport-based Wings Aviation last Monday, a day after the accident. It had last Monday withdrawn its approval given to Captain Raunak Cyril to be the deputy chief flight instructor (CFI) Wings Aviation for this lapse. The deputy CFI had authorised that solo flight which actually had two pilots on board.

The DGCA on Monday issued the order after finding Wings Aviation’s reply unsatisfactory. “In the reply no explanation has been given for presence of (the other pilot who was not supposed to be on that solo flight). Whereas, an inspection of the Wings Aviation was conducted on October 10-11 by a DGCA team (and) several deficiencies were observed,” the order issued by DGCA’s deputy DG Ashutosh Vasistha says.
The deficiencies damningly include “trainee pilots are not sole occupant of flight, which are logged as solo flights” — a widespread malpractice across unscrupulous flying schools in India and abroad too. The other findings were Wings not having “adequate qualified man power… for maintaining their fleet (and) breath analyzer tests are not conducted (as per rules).”
“It is inferred that Wings Aviation Pvt Ltd has failed to maintain safe efficient and reliable training organisation as required the Aircraft Rules 1937…. approval granted to Wings Aviation Pvt Ltd as FTO stands suspended from the date of issue of this order… until further orders,” the order says.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

.A tragic accident in which two budding pilots lost their lives. DGCA acted swiftly and withdrew the license of the flying club after investigation and conducting audit. Most of the Flying Clubs are run in an unprofessional manner and rules, regulations are flouted with impunity. A thorough audit of all the Flying Training Institutions need to be undertaken and management should be held accountable for the lapses. It is unfortunate that the foundation training phase of the pilots is not being managed professionally. DGCA close scrutiny of Flying Training Schools is timely and appreciated.

 

15 Oct 19-BA London flight turns back to Mumbai

Mumbai: A British Airways flight did an air turn back about 35 minutes after departure from Mumbai on Monday and carried out an emergency landing. According to the airline, the pilots decided to return to Mumbai as a precaution after a technical issue.
Flight BA-134 departed for London around 12.30 pm and was overhead the Arabian Sea when the pilots decided to return to Mumbai. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner dumped fuel and landed back in Mumbai.
This is the second time in three days that flight BA-134, which is scheduled for a 12.10 pm departure, was hit due to a technical problem with the aircraft.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

Boeing 787 Dreamliner are still having recurring technical issues including with British Airways.B-787 operators in India should not become complacent and keep a close eye on the behavior of the aircraft and attend to any unusual indications immediately.

 

15 Oct 19-Amaravati: Strategies for prevention of bird strikes discussed.

Amaravati: Dumping of waste, existence of poultry farms, water bodies outside the airport, fruit plantations on the premises of Airport boundary wall are attracting birds resulting in increase of bird hits to aircraft. This has been causing potential threat to safety of aircrafts and passengers, observed officials participated in a meeting at Vijayawada Airport Director’s office here on Monday.
Aerodrome Environment Management Committee (AEMC), Aerodrome Committee Meeting (ACM) and Anti Hijack Mock Exercise are conducted at the office of Airport Director, Vijayawada Airport under the Chairmanship of KRM Kishore Kumar, Principal Secretary, Home Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, informed G Madhusudana Rao, Airport Director in a statement.
Harshavardhan Raju. AEMC is conducting the meeting once in every two months to discuss about the Wildlife Hazard Management at Airport,

 

Comments by ASMSI.

The Airport Director, Vijaywada must be complimented for taking Pro Active Steps to mitigate bird hazards. It is also appreciated that the State Govt senior officials were part of this meeting. The birds pose a very serious hazard and concerted efforts must be made by all concerned to address the issues of cleanliness, waste dumping, animal slaughter houses and disposal of carcass in the vicinity of airports. The involvement of State Govt and District Administration including Police department in coordination and cooperation of Airport Operators is essential to have control over the bird menace.

 16 Oct 19-Safety checklist not being followed: DGCA to airlines, ground handlers.

New Delhi: On Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) held a meeting with senior officials of ground handling agencies and airlines managing their own ground operations to give them a rap on the knuckles. The reason: two months after the ground handlers were issued a comprehensive safety checklist by the regulator, a two-day audit at the Delhi airport revealed serious lapses.

Among the most common observations made for all ground handlers during the audit at Delhi airport on October 9 and 10 were: foreign object debris not being cleared before arrival of an aircraft at bay, equipment being parked inside the safety area, chocks being placed inside safety lines during arrival of aircraft, luggage dollies parked in designated areas did not have brakes, lack of driver permits for specific equipment and lack of emergency safety response drill being conducted.

According to sources present at the meeting — attended by officials from, Air India-SATS, Go Air, Spice Jet and BWFS (Bird Group) — DGCA chief Arun Kumar asked the ground handlers to immediately address the concerns and said that more frequent spot checks would be done to ensure compliance with the prevalent norms. During the inspection, 10 observations were made in case of BWFS, nine for Go Air, eight for Celebi and three each for Spice Jet and Air India-SATS.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

DGCA deserves to be complimented for identifying the weak areas, giving suitable instructions and enforcing that DGCA instructions are complied with the seriousness it demands. DG, DGCA, since assuming charge has been quite proactive to address the areas of safety concerns and has sent the clear message across that he means business. Ground accidents, incidents are avoidable and hence unpardonable. The Ground handling agencies need to be fully involved in addressing safety related issues on priority.

It would be pertinent to mention here that the Airport Safety department should be held accountable for any lapses by Ground Handling Agencies since they are responsible to carry out day to day inspection/surveillance and enforce discipline if required through punitive measures. There is also need to improve the reporting culture among aviation professionals so that the unsafe conditions are reported in time and action taken to immediately address them.

 

17 Oct 19-Two Spice Jet pilots suspended for 3 months over runway incursion.

 

New Delhi: Two Spice Jet pilots were suspended for three months Thursday by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for a runway incursion incident in August.
The pilots, who were commanding Spice Jet flight SEJ 8723 from Delhi to Mumbai on 27 August, were issued show cause notices last month.
The DGCA, in an order released Thursday, said the Pilots, had admitted their lapses in a reply to the show cause notice.
A DGCA investigation had revealed that the tower controller had given taxi instructions to SEJ 8723 to hold at holding point RWY 10 and the crew of the Spice Jet flight had confirmed compliance. However, the flight crossed the holding point, which had led to a runway incursion at Delhi’s IGI airport.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Action taken by DGCA to suspend the Pilots for this serious lapse is justified. Pilots have admitted their lapse in response to the show cause notice without any attempt to make excuses or finding fault with someone else, which is appreciated. Both the Pilots should be alert, vigilant and check, recheck and double check before entering active runway. Lack of attention, distraction, and hesitance/reluctance to confirm ATC instructions if in doubt have led to number of safety compromises. Various barriers to communication should be kept in mind by the pilots and they should be situationally aware at all times, particularly at busy airports like Delhi and other metros.

 

19 Oct 19- 60 Flights Delayed As Dust Storm Hits Delhi-NCR; Rahul Gandhi’s Chopper Makes Emergency Landing

New Delhi: A helicopter carrying former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was forced to make an emergency landing in Rewari (  KLP College ground) in Haryana after it failed to touch ground in New Delhi due to bad weather conditions. According to reports, Rahul Gandhi was returning to the national capital from Mahendragarh in Haryana.
According to official reports, as many as 60 flights at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi were delayed due to bad weather in the city. Several flights were diverted from the Delhi airport because of the bad weather conditions as several airlines issued advisories and updates about their flights.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Pilots must be complimented for taking timely decision to divert and land rather than continuing the flight in the face of adverse weather. October is post monsoon season and generally Pilots tend to become complacent thinking that Monsoon Season is over. However, such adverse weather spells can be expected during Oct, Nov and Pilots must carry out proper evaluation of the weather, cater for extra fuel and remain alert and vigilant.

 

20 Oct 19-AAIB to submit final report on Ghatkopar aircraft crash by December

Mumbai. On June 28, 2018, a King Air C-90 charter aircraft crashed during a test flight in the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar. Four people onboard the aircraft — two pilots and two aircraft maintenance engineers — as well as a bystander were killed in the incident.
The plane belonged to U Y Aviation Pvt Ltd which had a pact with Indamar Aviation Pvt Ltd for carrying out repairs and making the aircraft serviceable.
AAIB is likely to submit its final report in Ghatkopar aircraft crash to the government by December this year, and necessary action will be taken based on the findings of the probe.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Ghatkopar crash of C 90, Prima facie, was a typical case of rushing into operational airworthiness of the aircraft to serve the financial interest of the company where many short cuts were believed to have been taken by the Operator and maintenance agency. DGCA was prompt in initiating action on the concerned agencies. The investigation agency would have taken 18 months by the time they submit the final report in Dec19. The investigation in such accidents should not take more than a year at the most.

 

21 Oct 19-Crackdown by India’s Aviation Regulator Results in Drop in Accident Rates – Reports

New Delhi: DGCA has taken measures against several airlines for some of their alarming practices, which were responsible for recent accidents and incidents, a media report said.

Incidents such as aircraft overshooting runways or suffering tail strikes (when the tail of an aircraft contacts the ground or other stationary objects during takeoff or landing) during the last six months made the DGCA raise the red flag.

These incidents started in April, and in July alone, there were eleven incidents of aircraft overshooting runways while landing.

To curtail the frequency of such incidents, the DGCA cracked down on airline management and staff.

Measures included airline audits and issuing show-cause notices to airline management.

Some of the show-cause notices resulted in the sacking of heads of operations, or lead to the training of pilots and crew for some carriers.

The crackdown has brought down accident rates substantially, the Times of India report said quoting DGCA sources.


DGCA data reveals that between January and September this year, there were a total of 49 incidents and accidents that necessitated inquiry and action.

Of these 49 incidents and accidents, private airliner Spice Jet accounted for twenty; the Air India Group and IndiGo 11 each. Private airliners Vistara, Go Air and Air Asia India, accounted for two each, while Heritage Aviation reported one incident.
“We have arrested the worrying spiraling trend of accidents this monsoon and our safety standards are showing definite signs of improvement.” the Times of India quoted DGCA chief Arun Kumar as saying.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Number of serious incidents during Pre monsoon and Monsoon period had been alarming. Timely intervention and strict action by DGCA particularly against Senior Management of Airlines and removal of the Heads of Flight Safety, Training and Operations sent a clear message about the seriousness of DGCA, Zero Tolerance Policy. However, rather  than suspending Pilots, DGCA should go for action against the Accountable Executive who is accountable to DGCA for Implementation of SMS, Promotion of Safety, Prevention of Accidents, Incidents and addressing all safety related issues. Once the Accountable Executive realizes that he will be held accountable for any lapses in his company, he will have no choice but to involve himself and work with dedication to ensure that there are no safety compromises in his Company. DGCA should also follow Just Culture Policy which is so essential to get safety related inputs from the Operators and personnel.

 

 

21 Oct 19-10 refuse to fly in AI jet cleared after snag

Kozhikode: The Karipur airport on Sunday witnessed high drama after 10 passengers of Air India flight (AI 937) from Karipur to Dubai refused to travel in the aircraft which had developed a technical snag even after the engineers rectified it and certified the aircraft fit for flying.
According to airline officials, the pilot detected a technical snag (oil leak) when the aircraft with 143 passengers on board was being pushed back from the apron to the runway before the take-off run.
The pilot brought the aircraft back to the bay at 12.54 pm and the passengers on board were communicated that there would be a delay in view of the technical snag and were served their lunch.
Even though the engineers rectified the snag and cleared the aircraft for flying at 1.40 pm, a group of passengers came out of the aircraft and assembled on the tarmac and said they don’t want to fly in the same aircraft due to safety concerns.
“As many as 10 passengers remained adamant about not flying in the aircraft saying they feared for their safety. They demanded that a new aircraft be brought for the service which was impractical as the aircraft was certified fit for flying. Even the direct assurances made by the pilot-in-command that there was nothing to worry failed to convince the passengers,” a senior Air India official said.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

The Captain of the Aircraft should be complimented for detecting the oil leak during push back and for deciding to get the snag rectified before continuing the flight. Air India engineer were prompt in rectifying the snag in less than an hour. It appears to be an overreaction by the passengers in refusing to fly in the aircraft for fear of their safety. However, the concerns of the passengers must be kept uppermost in the mind and they should be comfortable about their safety. Frequent snags, flight delays and accidents/incidents are bad for the reputation of the airline and hence business. Airlines need to be sensitive to these aspects.

 

21 Oct 19Amethi: Trainer aircraft catches fire on landing at Fursatganj Airfield, pilot safe

A trainer aircraft of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) crashed on Monday as it was making a landing at the Fursatganj Airport. While the aircraft is completely destroyed, the trainee pilot is said to be safe.
The incident took place on Monday afternoon when Jaspreet was trying to land the aircraft at the airport. He, however, lost control of the plane and it skidded from the runway into a nearby drain. It soon caught fire.
The trainee pilot was able to jump out of the cockpit in time.
The fire brigade soon brought the fire under control but the plane had been completely destroyed by then.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

Open drains near the runways are potential hazards particularly at the Flying Training airfield. The airport operator must be alert and vigilant about such hazards and conduct Operation Risk Assessment periodically to identify hazards and take action to eliminate them. Covering the drains at all airports in the close vicinity of the runways may be considered.

 

22 Oct 19- Anti-drone regulations to be issued within weeks’ time: BCAS official

New Delhi: Aviation security regulator BCAS will issue regulations within a week to counter any rogue drones in the country, a senior official said. Civil Aviation Ministry had constituted a committee to find out the best available counter-drone solutions to safeguard civil aviation against possible drone attacks in India.
The number of illegal drones in India is likely to be between 50,000 and 60,000.

 “The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) which manufactures those drones right now has no interest in complying with a country specific law.

The Indian government had approached the drone manufacturers to make themselves compliant with Indian standards but the company isn’t willing to do so. As per the rules in India, companies have to obtain a Unique Identification Number (UIN) from aviation regulator DGCA to operate drones.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

Drones are going to be major problem area in future if they are not adequately regulated. DGCA has framed Drone Regulations and is in the process of approving the trials after due diligence. The threat from rogue drones is real what with our neighbor Pakistan trying every trick in its bag to cause disturbances in India. Drone detection and destruction is not going to be easy and technology has to be developed to take on Drone related threat on highest priority.

 

 24 Oct 19-Boeing Max design to blame for Lion Air crash, Indonesia says.

Flaws in the design of Boeing Co’s 737 Max and lack of information on how to deal with malfunctions in one of the jet’s flight-control systems contributed to last year’s crash of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed 189 people, Indonesian investigators found.

In a slideshow to victims’ families, the National Transportation Safety Committee said the 737 Max’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, was approved based on incorrect assumptions and that its reliance on a single angle-of-attack sensor made it vulnerable.

 

The mother of the pilot of the Lion Air plane that plunged into the sea last year, killing 189 people, said Boeing should be required to re-certify the 737 Max aircraft and mandate simulator training for all pilots.

The plane’s design and a lack of information for pilots on how to deal with malfunctions contributed to the crash of Flight 610, Indonesian investigators told the victims’ families Wednesday (Oct 23) in Jakarta.

The NTSC’s findings could influence regulators worldwide as they assess the fate of Boeing’s best-selling plane.

The jet has been grounded globally since Mar 13, costing the Chicago-based company over US$8 billion. The head of its jetliner division stepped down Tuesday after less than three years in the job.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

Two major fatal accidents on Boeing 737 Max were instrumental in grounding the aircraft worldwide. The absence of any concern about the safety of the aircraft and lack of involvement on the part of Boeing and the Certification agency after the Lion Air Crash, were responsible for another major crash of Ethiopian Airline. In fact, there should have been immediate action to establish the root cause of Lion Air crash and implementation of steps to prevent the second accident. Such lackadaisical approach on the part of a highly reputed manufacturer and Certification agency is shocking, to say the least.  DGCA is quite vigilant and involved in carrying out its own diligence in ensuring that the aircraft and pilots training standards including simulator training meet the stringent safety requirements and certification by even reputed agencies is not taken for granted.

 

24 Oct 19-MIA introduces slew of safety measures for passengers, aircraft

Mangaluru: In a move that will vastly enhance safety standards at Mangalore International Airport (MIA), Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken up phase II work of parallel taxiway and widening of runway safety basic strip area. Incidentally, phase I work on the parallel taxiway measuring around 550 metres each, in two stretches, was completed in December 2016, and work on the balance 1,350 metres of this taxiway is presently under way.
Completion of the work will ensure that the turnaround time for aircraft landing and taking off from MIA will be vastly reduced. With reduced occupancy time of the active runway, passengers too will save on time with timely arrivals and take-offs. Even the airlines will save on pricey aviation turbine fuel that they would otherwise have to use for taxiing and idling purposes.
The move to double the runway safety basic strip area from the current width of 75metres, from the center of the runway, will also ensure greater safety for aircraft using the airport. This basic strip area is usually an unpaved area flanking the main runway.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

AAI has done a good job of developing parallel Taxi Track and widening of R/W basic safety area. Both these will serve the interest of safety as well as saving on fuel by the airlines. Mangalore airport is one of the difficult airport in the country and has had its fair share of accidents. Time to time Operation Risk Evaluation by the regulator and AAI should be undertaken in proactive manner to eliminate any potential hazards.

 

 

25 Oct 19-Airport curb on laser shows

Laser shows often used in outdoor parties that shoot powerful multi-coloured beams into the night sky have been banned within a 10km radius from the airport ahead of Diwali and the party season as they pose a risk during take-off and landing of aircraft.

A notification issued by the Bidhannagar commissionerate on Thursday cited several problems faced by pilots of advancing aircraft as the reason for clamping a ban on laser lights.

The use of laser lights as part of dazzling laser shows at outdoor parties and events will not be allowed in several areas surrounding the airport such as New Town, Rajarhat, Kaikhali, several parts of Baguiati, Narayanpur.

“Copies of the notification will be sent to police stations for distribution among establishments such as hotels and banquet halls. The strong and concentrated beams of light falling on the aircraft windshield and cockpit windows can blind pilots momentarily,” Aircraft often fly over Salt Lake and New Town before landing at the airport. Pilots have complained on several occasions in the past few years about laser lights creating inconvenience while landing, especially during Diwali and Kali Puja.

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 Laser lights are a big nuisance particularly during festival season and pose serious hazard to aircraft on approach. Pilots should be aware of hazards posed by Laser Lights shot towards cockpit during approach, landing. Kolkata Administration has done well to initiate steps to prevent use of Laser Lights within 10 Km of the Airport. DGCA/AAI should issue instructions to all airports to be vigilant about this threat and caution the Pilots about laser lights in the approach path. There is a need to sensitise and liaise with the Civil Administration to enforce ban on use of laser lights within 10 Km of the airport.

 

28 Oct 19-13 employees of airlines, airports failed alcohol test since Sep 16: DGCA official

Thirteen employees of airlines and airports have failed breath analyser tests since September 16 and they have been suspended for three months, a DGCA official said on Monday.

Seven employees of IndiGo, and one airside worker each of GoAir and SpiceJet have failed the alcohol tests since the rules were issued.


The aviation regulator in September had issued rules for the tests to be conducted at all airports for airside workers, including those handling aircraft maintenance, air traffic control (ATC) and ground handling services.

Comments by ASMSI.

 Laudable decision by DGCA to bring all the personnel working on the airside in the ambit of Alcohol Test. It will certainly add to improved safety environments at the airports.

 

29 Oct 19-Delhi HC asks DGCA to consider PIL seeking probe into ‘safety features’ in airplanes.

The Delhi High Court has directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to consider the PIL seeking investigation into the presence of ‘optional safety features’ in the airplanes in India and frame guidelines accordingly.

The Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar has directed the DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to consider the PIL as a representation and decide the same expeditiously.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Yugansh Mittal seeking direction to the DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to set up a commission to investigate the presence of ‘optional safety features’ in airplanes in India and framing of guidelines regulating the practice of having ‘optional safety features’ in airlines.

The PIL has also sought directions to the respondents to collate and collect relevant information with regard to presence of optional safety features in airlines, inter alia, in regard to their availability, costs, planes installed on and other relevant details of the same and making mandatory for all aircrafts operating in India to have all optional safety features in aircrafts.

Senior advocate N Hariharan appearing for the petitioner contended that the DGCA and the Ministry of Civil aviation do not have adequate data regarding these optional safety features and their costs and whether aircraft in India have them installed or not.

Comments by ASMSI.

It is noteworthy that the Delhi High Court has considered the Aviation Safety related PIL and has given directions to MOCA and DGCA to look into the aspects of provisioning of Optional Safety Features on aircraft in India. The involvement of Judiciary in matters related to Aviation Safety is an interesting development and may go long way in addressing safety related issues in a proactive manner. Passenger safety is of paramount importance and should be uppermost in the mind of all stakeholders. A fine balance should be maintained between commercial considerations and aviation safety. The importance of safety and confidence of travelling public is essential for long term viability of aviation operations.

 

30 Oct 19-IndiGo Plane Turns Back After Engine Stalls Mid-Air, 4th Incident This Week.

One of the Pratt and Whitney engines of an IndiGo A320neo plane that was heading from Kolkata to Pune on Wednesday evening stalled with big bang, high vibrations, mid-air, forcing the pilot to return to the Kolkata airport, making it the fourth such incident involving PW engines at the low-cost carrier in a week.
On three consecutive days from October 24 to 26, IndiGo had three in-flight PW engine shutdowns, compelling the aviation regulator DGCA to visit the airline’s premises on Monday to review the maintenance and safety data.

The Pratt and Whitney (PW) engine-powered A320 neo planes in the fleets of the two airlines – IndiGo and GoAir – have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016, which has also led to grounding of some planes.
DGCA asked IndiGo to replace 16 A320Neo and Go Air to replace 13 A320 Neo aircraft’s PW engines, which have been used for over 3,000 hours, within the next 15 days or face grounding of the airplane
Director General of Civil Aviation told PW in no uncertain terms to comply with the orders (for replacing an engine each on 29 A320 Neos of IndiGo and Go Air that have more snag-prone engines under both wings within 15 days or else be grounded) by providing sufficient modified engines.

 

 

Comments by ASMSI.

 

Since induction, A 320 NEO has been plagued with engine problems like shut down, stalling of engine, vibrations etc. This issue has not only affected the revenue of the airlines but also the confidence of travelling public related to safety. DGCA has been quite proactive in addressing this issue and has been interacting with the operators and the aircraft manufacturers. Tough stand taken by DGCA with Air Bus and meaningful threat of grounding of the aircraft with NEO engines with strict timelines given to the Air Bus industry and airlines is appreciated. No compromise should be made with the safety of the passengers.

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