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Showing posts with the label Aviation

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

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  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

Aviation ministry sits on INR1450 Cr in the backdrop of unpaid salaries & COVID crisis

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  Un-utilised funds COVID19 crisis has crippled the aviation sector which has witnessed salary cuts and job losses to stay afloat. In this time of crisis the civil aviation ministry has managed to overlook utilization of budgetary allocation of a staggering INR1450 Cr FY 2020-21.  This has been recorded in the report of the Parliamentary committee on transport tabled  in March 2021. The report in para 8.1 states the following "The Committee is distressed to note that the Ministry has been able to spend only 64.9% of the enhanced RE allocation of ₹4131.63 crores, which means that the Ministry has to spend ₹1450.78 crore in the remaining two months of the Financial Year 2020-21 .  The Committee apprehends significant underutilization of the budgetary funds available with the Ministry. At a time when the Government was facing major financial troubles on account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry received a considerable boost of 8.8% at RE 2020-21 , as compared to BE 2020-21. 

First autonomous cargo flight, gate to gate

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The future of aviation is going to change soon with drones and now autonomous aircraft making its debut after the demonstration flight. Xwing, a USA based company has completed its first gate-to-gate autonomous demonstration flight of a commercial cargo aircraft. The company said Thursday it has raised $40 million at a post-money valuation of $400 million. The company is setting its sights on expansion — not only tripling its engineering team, but eventually running regular fully unmanned commercial cargo flights. Xwing has developed technology to automatically detect and avoid other aircraft and obstacles, integrating radar, ADSB, optical cameras and lidar. The sensor system is designed to be easily added to existing aircraft, along with navigation and control systems that allow the plane to go from taxi to landing by itself, deciding on the most efficient flight path and adjusting to any issues along the way, while coordinating with air traffic controllers. "Our software integra

In the business of training pilots, the airlines are making a quick buck

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Becoming a pilot is an expensive proposition due to the high training costs without an assurance of a job and on the other hand can be a lucrative business for some. Every year hundreds of youth train to become pilots at flying schools in India and abroad having borrowed huge sums in loans or mortgage. A pilots profession not only pays well but increases the social standing of an individual. The youth is desperate for jobs and the airlines need pilots, but do airlines have a moral and social responsibility of not making pilot training into a business which works towards maximising profits and at some stage even insensitivity? A pilots profession is an aspirational career for most young adults and more so after the aviation boom with the arrival of airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet. IndiGo leads the pack in terms of market share and number of aircrafts. The growth of the airlines has been phenomenal and expansion is a never ending process. This requires the recruitment of hundreds of pi

Spicejet bends all rules to fly to Gangtok airport risking lives, in the wake of Calicut accident

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Approach at Pakyong airport The cosy relationship between SpiceJet and the Indian aviation regulator stands exposed when each day passengers and crew fly to and from from Pakyong airport built on a table top with hills on one side and a deep valley on the other. Whereas passengers are oblivious to the risks involved with the flight that they are traveling on, the crew are living on a prayer that they come back safely. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim which is the home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s. Access to Gangtok has always been by road which takes five hours to reach from the nearest airport, which is Baghdogra. Sikkim is also of strategic importance due to its location. The construction of an airport at Pakyong near Gangtok would therefore would hold much importance and with the inauguration of the airport by the Prime Minister in Sept 2018,

Seconds away from disaster, IndiGo pilots react swiftly using well trained maneuver

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  IndiGo ATR 6E7972 IndiGo ATR-72 taking off from Shillong airport 0n 27th Feb 2021was seconds away from disaster when the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) alerted the crew that the flight path that they had chosen to fly would end up flying into a hill ahead. 30 seconds from impact IndiGo ATR The crew were alerted approx. 30 seconds before impact with mountains, by an automated visual and audio alert "TERRAIN AHEAD PULL UP". The crew reacted instinctively as per well rehearsed training procedures to steer the aircraft away from danger. Everyone is prone to errors and there are warnings too but it is a well trained crew who is able to react in a timely manner to prove the effectiveness of training. ‘Saves’ – An accident avoided.(Source ICAO) The industry has recorded a number of ‘saves’ where EGPWS provided a timely alert to the crew to avoid an accident; some of these events were sufficiently serious that national authority investigations were required, repor

HANSA NG, India breaks the taboo entering trainer aircraft manufacture

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  India has rolled out the much awaited single engine basic trainer aircraft to meet with the requirements of training pilots who would graduate to become airline pilots.   Hansa - 3  is India’s first all-composite light aircraft designed and developed by CSIR-NAL a government organization in partnership with MESCO aerospace, ideally suited for ab-initio flying training, sport and hobby flying.  With this aim, the new generation HANSA is equipped with a glass cockpit, capable of Instruments only flying, electrically operated flap system and an imported ROTAX 912iSc engine which develops a continuous power of 98 bhp. The aircraft structure uses JIPREG composite, a National Aeronautics Limited technology. This   Computer Controlled Fabric Impregnation Machine (CCFIM) replaces the cumbersome manual resin impregnation processes, ridden with drawbacks like non-uniform wetting of fabrics, weave distortions and poor quality of impregnation, due to their dependence on human skills. It further

Tata's & Air India, cultures apart

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The Tata's may have been the genesis of aviation and Air India but they stand cultures apart. The tie up with AirAsia seems to be crumbling primarily due to the marked difference in the ideology of the two groups. AirAsia is a high risk and profit driven ruthless organisation on the other hand the Tata culture is more benevolent and investment in the employees. Research has shown that 30% of mergers fails due to work culture issues. Over the years since Air India was taken over by the government and converted to a public sector undertaking, the service to the public stopped and motivated interests took over the agenda of running the airlines. Each chief executive that takes over the reigns, is remotely controlled by the aviation ministry. Al. important appointments have the approval of the ministry and so much so that even daily working is dictated by them. The government doesn't walk the talk when giving the slogan "the government should not be running airports or airlin

Observe for 48 hours, FAA permits Pilots & ATCO's COVID19 vaccine

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Pilot & ATC Following the Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Pfizer, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, the FAA has determined that pilots  may receive the vaccine  under the conditions of their FAA-issued airman medical certification. FAA Air Traffic Controllers, who are subject to FAA medical clearance, may also receive the vaccine. To maintain the highest level of safety in the National Airspace System, the agency will require aviation professionals with medical certifications or medical clearances to observe a period of 48 hours following the administration of this vaccine before conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic. Because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart for maximum effectiveness, this waiting period applies after each dose. The FAA anticipates taking no additional measures to ensure safety after the initial window for side effects closes. However, the agency’s medical profess

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

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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

Bubbles, the risk based solution by United Nations Aviation Body

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  The impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on global air transport is without precedent. Airports have seen a 28.4 per cent decline in global passenger traffic volumes for the first quarter of 2020, equivalent to a reduction of 612 million passengers in absolute terms. For airlines, the revenue passenger kilometres flown (RPKs) worldwide were down by 94% on the previous year. International RPKs were down 98%, as the passenger side of the industry was virtually grounded. With second waves of the virus impacting various countries and leading to renewed travel restrictions, international air travel remains minimal at -88% down on last year in August. These volumes (domestic and international traffic) are expected to decrease by 50.4 per cent for 2020 as a whole as compared to 2019 figures. ICAO estimates that, by the end of 2020, the COVID-19 impact on scheduled international passenger traffic could reach reductions of up to 71 per cent of seat capacity and up to 1.5 bill

Political will & Institutions needed to become Atmanirbhar in Civil Aircraft Production

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A Vimana is a word with several meanings ranging from temple or palace to mythological flying machines described in Sanskrit texts like Yajurveda, Mahabharata, Samarangana Sutradhara, Rigveda, Ramayana and even older ones. As well as being able to fly within Earth’s atmosphere, Vimanas were also said to be able to travel into space and travel under water. India seems to have failed to capitalise on the rich heritage while countries like Brazil has become successful aircraft manufacturer and has now graduated to electric aircraft manufacturing too. What will it take India to manufacture a commercial aircraft at a time when the Indian Space Industry is winning accolades globally? A determined political will and establishment of institutions in the civilian aerospace sector is the first step to rediscover the lost technology of making "flying machines" called the "Vaimanika Shastra". Brazilians might respond with the assertion that the first airplane was invented by th