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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

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.

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

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

Does food taste different inflight, at 35000 feet? Here is why.

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In-flight meal(Courtesy CC Commons)   Passengers in general love the in-flight meals. There may be a scientific reason behind the way in-flight meals taste. The humidity in the air at 30,000feet is less than 12% which is drier than that in the desert. The altitude of the cabin is equivalent to that at 8000feet even though the aircraft is flying high. This is possible due to pressurised air maintaining sufficient breathable air under pressure. Under this combination of low pressure, dry air and high speed of the aircraft, the taste buds and sense of smell changes. The sensitivity of the tastebuds reduces by almost 30%. The latest research shows that loud noise suppresses our ability to taste sweetness and saltiness, while other studies show that the background buzz in airplanes actually enhances the taste of umami (one of the five basic tastes). A number of airlines offer tomato juice or bloody mary which contains umami rich tomatoes. Some food expert advise not to have Champagne even i

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

Boeing risk assessment had predicted 15 B737 Max accidents & 2900 deaths, was it acceptable to the DGCA?

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  The final committee report prepared by the USA committee on transport and infrastructure has carried out a comprehensive study on the design development and certification of the Boeing 737 Max based on the facts & data when it was certified to fly for the first time. There were two tragic accidents which followed , in quick succession which everyone will remember, the Lion Air and the Ethiopian airways. The B737 Max fleet was grounded worldwide. There are a number of startling yet expected conclusions that the report draws but there is one which no one must ignore. "In December 2018, the FAA conducted a risk assessment based on its Transport Aircraft Risk Assessment Methodology (TARAM) and estimated that without a fix to MCAS, during the lifetime of the 737 MAX fleet, there could potentially be 15 additional fatal crashes resulting in over 2,900 deaths ." Read the full report here.. Slide 1 The obvious question, why weren't the aircrafts grounded? The Boeing officia

RASE an anonymous safety experience exchange system by Safety Matters

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 What is there was a simple platform to share our daily experiences, apprehensions, doubts etc with the world? Instead of small groups holding critical safety related information, there is a need for a pilot of a particular type or operating to an airport, to know whats bothering others around the globe with similar issue that they are facing with. Safety Matters/mindFly by Amit have created a simple to use application which is open for all to use. A few fields for data entry and a search options to retrieve data. It is anonymous and no personal or digital data is recorded. There is a approval process before the data is presented to the end users to filter out erroneous entries, malicious data and other anomalies. RASE is not a mandatory occurrence reporting platform and is just an experience sharing platform which is easy to use and can benefit others by sharing it freely.

A DHL cargo plane made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport on Saturday evening after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

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  A DHL cargo plane made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport on Saturday evening after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. The Airbus A300 touched down safely after 11pm with emergency vehicles on standby it then taxied to the terminal. Airport firefighters were supported by fire crews from London Fire brigade The incident was declared as a full emergency response. Heathrow fire crews investigated the issue but were unable to determine the cause. Reported by Airlive

Certificate by National Association of Flight Instructors, USA for my contributions

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 NAFI provides valuable resources to all flight educators to further its 50+ year commitment to raise and maintain the professional standing of flight instructors in the aviation community. NAFI members follow a  Code of Ethics  in their flight instruction practices that provides a standard of character and professionalism, setting them apart in the flight training community. I thank NAFI for honouring me with a certificate of membership for my contributions towards sharing knowledge, seeking professional development, continued learning and personal growth.  

FAA proposes draft B-737 Max Training only for US carriers & registered aircraft only

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B737 Max Flight Simulator  The FAA has released a f light standardisation board report relating to B-737 Max pilot training. Soon after, an addendum was issued too.  While FAA has clearly stated that the training required in the FSB is mandated for US air carriers & US registered aircrafts, other aviation authorities must take their own action for the return of the B-737 Max. Question, will the Indian regulator follow a systematic process of change management and not be rushed into the re-entry process? Will the FSB report adopted in toto and will the regulators draft training requirements be put out for public comments? The key highlights are quoted below from the FAA website as of 7th Oct 2020: While this is an important step, several key milestones remain: Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Report  – The FAA will review Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations. The multi-agency TAB will also review the fi

Kozhikode runway friction delayed as top policy makers certify the runway safe for operations

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The runway friction test is mandated by the DGCA to be carried out periodically for safe flight operations.  A medium to big aircraft typically lands at a speed of 220-260 kmph. The primary means of stopping the aircraft is with the wheel brakes like any other vehicle. Since the runway length is limited,it is therefore important that the runway is not slippery & the wheels have a good grip on the runway by generating friction between the two surfaces.Lesser friction would mean lesser braking response. Factors that affect braking are the condition of the runway, dry/wet & rubber deposits. Each landing of the aircraft leaves behind about 700 gms of rubber from the tires due to sudden wheel spin up and this accumulates over a period of time depending on how busy the airport is.  If the rubber is not removed periodically, the grains of the runway surface which provide the grip get filled with the rubber and they become smooth. Adding to this if there is even a film of water few mil