AirIndia Express Co-Pilot's life & others lost probably to a failed emergency response plan

  The crash of the Boeing 777 on July 6th 2013, at San Francisco killed two and injured more than 180. The first police and fire personnel arrived at the crash scene in about two minutes, and local officials said brave rescue efforts and effective triage of the many wounded likely saved lives.  A stark contrast was the Air India Express IX1344 accident at Calicut airport where the aircraft plunged 35 meters killing 21 people including the pilots. The victims were transported to various hospitals in ambulances and private vehicles. While ambulances are equipped with life saving medical equipment, the Co-Pilot was rushed to a hospital 25km away an hours drive on the backseat of a private car thereby depriving him of the critical life saving equipment. While it was a helping gesture but who ever decided this inhumane treatment to the co-pilot did contribute to the sad demise of the young pilot. The airport emergency response plan which is mandatory and is rehearsed periodically failed mis

Risky approach & poor investigation of a close shave for 145 Air India passengers at Surat

Source: DGCA incident report

An Air India A320 from New Delhi to Surat on 04th Oct 2017 had a narrow escape from disaster when the crew decided to continue with a high speed approach and touched down late, more than half way down the runway. The investigation was carried out by a sole investigator and the report submitted 3 years hence, which is 3 times later than an accident report would have taken. This gives an indication of the weightage that is given by the authorities to find out the root cause and prevent such occurrences.

The report reveals that the aircraft touched down at the position as indicated in the pictorial description above. The report findings document that 600m was remaining for the flight crew to stop the aircraft. The visibility was absolutely clear but the investigator did not question the Air Traffic Controller why no one could see the aircraft overshoot the runway and report the same? The aircraft was not grounded and the cockpit voice recorder which is a vital piece of information to determine the root cause, not downloaded.
An A320 would typically require 1100m to land and stop on the runway.
Broken lights

The runway lights that have the glass only missing face the opposite direction runway. The aircraft landed on runway 22 and these lights are missing, no glass pieces for runway 04. There are no tire marks beyond the extremities of the runway.

Read the full report on the DGCA WEBSITE ..

If what the report has depicted is true and the aircraft stopped on the paved surface, it was a very close call for the passengers and crew. It is extremely difficult to stop the aircraft within 600m without experiencing high loads on the aircraft structure. The calculation is probably incorrect.A cursory cross check of the data presented in the investigation report reveals the poor investigative skills and analysis. This occurrence qualifies as a serious incident and would need to be investigated by the Aircraft Investigation Bureau. DGCA has downgraded the occurrence and taken over 3 times the time as taken for an accident to conclude this incident report.

Letter to the DG

The safety culture survey 2020 conducted by Safety Matters, the NGO on Safety has highlighted the investigation by the state as a major concern. This report is an example of poor investigation which has diluted the occurrence and failed to draw learnings from it. No doubt that the crew must have aborted the landing in the aircraft state of speed and rate of descent at various mandatory points of decision making on an approach, there was a need to determine the state of the crew and their decision making which prevented them from taking the safer choice of an aborted landing an attempting again.


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