Posts

Showing posts with the label Accident

Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

Image
  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

Indian aviation's startling disclosure, upto 80% incidents due engineering/technical issues

Image
Facts as told by the Government! Indian aviation has witnessed an increase in number of incidents in the past few years and so has the traffic increased. The surprising revelation is that the 70-80% of the incidents are attributable to Engineering and Technical issues including component failure.15-20% Operational issues and 5-10% Human error. (Source Lok Sabha Question Answer 2020). The statement above shows that Human Factors is NOT understood by the policymakers and the people responsible for safety. The terms remains buried in text waiting to be understood. Globally, accident numbers have dropped significantly with the introduction of the Generation 4 aircraft types. Statistics over the life of each generation of jet show a significant improvement in the level of safety since the introduction of third generation aircraft and the latest fourth generation. Introducing TAWS technology with the third generation aircraft saw a huge reduction in the number of CFIT fatal accidents when co

Etihad incident at Calicut,June'19, highlighted airport infrastructure issues. This could have been the wakeup call!

Image
Etihad June 2019 Two incidents that could have saved the Air India Express accident at Khozikode. Unfortunately, no one acted on the concerns raised by the GCAA investigators. Isn't it criminal negligence? Synopsis First SpiceJet Q400 runway excursion in rain, August 2017 and now on 20 June 201 9 , an Etihad Airways, Airbus A320 - 232, registration A6 - EI T , operated a scheduled passenger flight EY2 5 0, from Abu Dhabi International Airport , the United Arab Emirates, to Calicut International Airport , India .  During the ILS approach to runway 28 , the flight crew initiated a go - around due to heavy rain over the runway as reported by air traffic control ( ATC ) . Approximately 16 minutes later, the flight crew initiated a second i nstrument landin g system ( ILS ) approach to runway 28.  On landing, the Aircraft touched down to the right of the runway centerline, and the right main landing gear then struck five runway edge lights. The Commander was able to steer the Aircraft

In Public's Interest, Govt. must release Air India Express accident preliminary report

Image
           The public has an overarching interest in safety data or safety information(ICAO) . The Air India Express aircraft VT-AXH accident at Kozhikode was unfortunate and a matter of public concern. The regulator made a public statement that in a few weeks, information on the circumstances leading to the accident would be released. It is over 30 days and the public is still being kept in the dark.  The reason this routine information is being withheld by the investigating authorities is quite intriguing since transparency promotes safety culture and awareness of the threats. Is it their lack of understanding of the investigation concepts or the usual posturing on the high horse? The regulation does not mandate the release of the preliminary report but at the same time does not restrict or recommend withholding the report from public disclosure . Objective of Investigation      The sole objective of an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 investigati

Calicut crash evidence tampered, damaged. Need for a judicial probe

Image
    The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has failed in its primary duty that of securing the accident site. Not only has the site been contaminated but key evidence has been destroyed and stolen. Video recorded by media channels clearly shows how the aircraft cockpit was rummaged and desecrated by groups of people looking for something in specific. It just might be a key evidence in the accident investigation. A judicial probe must be initiated to carry out a fair and unbiased investigation. The letter written to the Secretary Civil Aviation reads as follows.   First Video: The video link shows the destruction of evidence    Second video:     The Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi, India Dear Sir, This is with reference to the Air India Express aircraft VT-AXH accident on 7th August 2020 at Kozhikode. This is also with reference to the emails sent to your office on 17th August 2020, 18th May 2020, 03 July 2020 & 13th August 2020 with the subject "Reinvesti

Fact Checked: ICAO mandates arresting systems on runways like Kozhikode, why was it not complied with?

Image
      ICAO has defined Runway End Safety Area (RESA) in Annex-14 as a standard that must be complied with. An area symmetrical about the extended runway centre line and adjacent to the end of the strip primarily intended to reduce the risk of damage to an aeroplane undershooting or overrunning the runway. 3.5.1 A runway end safety area shall be provided at each end of a runway strip where: — the code number is 3 or 4; and — the code number is 1 or 2 and the runway is an instrument one. 10.2 Where provision of a runway end safety area would be particularly prohibitive to implement, consideration would have to be given to reducing some of the declared distances of the runway for the provision of a runway end safety area and installation of an arresting system.   10.3 Research programmes, as well as evaluation of actual aircraft overruns into arresting systems, have demonstrated that the performance of some arresting systems can be predictable and effective in arresting aircraft overruns

Kozhikode airport a violation of ICAO Annex 19. Why policy makers time & again prove ignorance of safety management

Image
      Runway strip dimension Kozhikode Airport   Both these airports meet the minimum ICAO standards. ICAO also calls for a Safety Management System to comply with ICAO Annex-19. Every situation or a combination cannot be foreseen by ICAO. This is the reason that ICAO Annex 19 was promulgated to mandate a risk based safety management. On the 14th January 2018, a Pegasus 737-800 veered off the runway at Trabzon, Turkey and came to rest on a steep slope quite close to the Black Sea.Thankfully, no casualties. The rule and the spirit of the rule Safety managers and trained policy holders need to identify the threats and the risk associated with them. If the bare minimum mandated or recommended dimension do not meet the definition or purpose of the object, then buffers need to be incorporated or enhanced. Runway strip A defined area including the runway and stopway, if provided, intended: a) to reduce the risk of damage to aircraft running off a runway; and b) to protect aircraft flying ov

Much defended, Kozhikode Runway RESA & Runway Strip do not meet ICAO standards

Image
  The Runway End Safety Area is mandated by ICAO in Annex 14 as a standard. Following is the definition: An area s ymmetrical about the extended runway centre line and adjacent to the end of the strip primarily intended to reduce the risk of damage to an aeroplane undershooting or overrunning the runway. ICAO Annex 14 requirements Kozhikode airport design of the RESA has used the width of the turn pad at both ends of the runway to meet the 90m, double the width of the runway requirement of ICAO Annex-14. Unfortunately, ICAO  Annex-14 as per definition specifically defines RESA with the terms Extended Centerline and Symmetrical. This implies that RESA must extent 45m either side of the extended centerline all the way till 240m. The Kozhikode RESA does not meet the ICAO standard by 10 m. Technically if 10 m is significant, Kozhikode is not a RESA as per ICAO standards.  Recommendation.— The width of a runway end safety area should, wherever practicable, be equal to that of the graded p

IndiGo flight followed a similar flight pattern and landed safely before the ill-fated Air India Express crashed

Image
An IndiGo AT-72 turboprop landed at Kozhikode airport 01hr45min prior to the ill-fated Air India Express B-737.  The IndiGo ATR followed a similar flight profile befoe landing on the easterly direction runway 10 at the airport. The IndiGo ATR too attempted to land on the westerly runway 28 but discontinued the approach. The reason could be due to poor visibility in rain and/or low clouds obscuring the pilots vision in an attempt to acquire visual references of the landing runway. The second attempt was carried out on the easterly runway 10, same as the Air India Express.  At the time of landing, the prevailing visibility in rain was between 1500m-2000m. The instrument landing system which guides the aircraft through electronic ground based transmitter signals to 250 feet above ground requires the visibility of atleast 1300m or more. The IndiGo ATR may have faced less severe weather and the slower turboprop may have been more forgiving. Nevertheless, this pattern can provide some intere

Why Air India Express crash investigation should not be handed over to Accident Investigation Board

Image
      The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) which reports to the Civil Aviation Ministry has reportedly been handed over the investigation of the Air India Express IX-1344 which met with an accident on 7th Aug 2020.  Firstly the fact that AAIB reports to the MoCA is a conflict of interest. Post Air India Express accident at Mangalore in 2010, recommendations of the Court of Inquiry (COI) included setting up of independent civil aviation safety board on the lines of NTSB, USA. The NTSB initially reported to the Department of Transport but later, in order to remove the conflict of interest, was made fully independent and now reports to the Congress. Additional recommendations were issued post the release of the final report. The Civil aviation ministry released a document an year after Mangalore accident highlighting the completion of work carried out to address the recommendations of the investigation report. The Kozhikode accident of IX1344 is a grim reminder of the repeat o