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Showing posts with the label Safety

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

Multi-Crew Pilot License, India needs better preparedness to adopt the change

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  The Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) was adopted by ICAO in 2006 with an amendment in the ICAO Annex-1. India has still not implemented the change. India has been following the traditional prescriptive training methodology with very few changes over the year. The idiom “ Don’t fix it until it breaks ” fits well in the Indian context. There is however a need to rationalize training curriculum since it has been overloaded with additional training requirement post a major accident or an ICAO mandate. There are lobbies which have been pushing for the introduction of MPL in India in partnership with a few airlines. The airlines unknowingly are falling for the bait that they have been traditionally been doing since eternity. India has always been seen as a milking cow by the west and the sheer numbers in terms of training hours requirement seems like a lucrative business to anyone. The question here is,   is India prepared to launch and support a new training and licensing methodology? The c

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

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

Slippery runway & more so the safety area at Kozhikode may be a leading cause of the Air India Express crash

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RESA  The entire state machinery is on overdrive to defend the Calicut Airport stating that it was completely safe for flight operations. There are two significant points to focus on while determining the causes of the accident.  1. Previous safety audits have pointed to vegetation on the runway end safety area (RESA). 2. The rubber deposits at the ends of the runway may have been a contributory cause of the accident. Comparison A comparison of the runway friction values indicates a possibility of higher rubber deposits or poor runway friction levels at both ends of the runways. A friction level below 0.47 requires maintenance action as per the Indian Aeronautical Information Publication. The combination of runway friction and vegetation on the RESA may have been a significant factor that may have caused the Air India Express 1344 runway overrun at Kozhikode on 7th Aug 2020. Must note that the runway has a pronounced crown close to the middle and drops more than 25 feet on either side.

Air Djibouti suffers landing gear collapse on landing, no injuries

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  Air Djibouti the African Airline, Boeing B-737 suffered a landing gear collapse on landing at Garowe airport, Somalia. No injuries have been reported. AvHerald reports: An Air Djibouti Boeing 737-500, registration EY-560 performing flight IV-206 from Hargeisa (Somaliland/Somalia) to Garowe (Puntland/Somalia) with 39 passengers and 5 crew, landed at Garowe (capital of Puntland) Airport's runway 04 at about 09:30L (06:30Z) but suffered the collapse of the right hand main gear at low speed. The aircraft veered to the right but came to a stop within the runway edge resting on right hand engine, left main and nose gear. There were no injuries, the passengers disembarked/evacuated onto the runway and were taken to the terminal. The flight had originated in Djibouti (Djibouti) and was destined for Mogadishu (Somalia) with intermediate stops in Hargeisa and Garowe. Garowe International Airport features an asphalt runway 04/22 of 2000 meters/6600 feet length. Local Media report the airpor

Privacy laws missing, there is a need to regulate the Drones hovering overhead

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  The Civil Aviation Ministry has vowed to keep up with the developments in the unmanned air systems or drones but unfortunately suffers from myopic vision. The projects are driven not for public welfare but to foster business or personal interests of a few.  Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2017 In the name of creating a roadmap, a cut ,copy ,paste document has been put out in the public domain for comments. The National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)Traffic Management Policy has been released by the Civil Aviation Ministry.  Public participation The concept of public participation is missing in the document. The proposed role of the general public is limited to availability of data on a need to know basis to report a UAS not complying regulations or breaching their privacy. Privacy rules India does not have explicit rules governing personal privacy. P ersonal data is protected through indirect safeguards developed by the courts under common law, principles of equity a