Friday, August 21, 2015

The untold story of Jet Airways Flight 9W555: How an airline and its pilot nearly crashed a passenger plane with 150 people onboard

By Jacob K Philip

An incident that was hardly noticed by the national media, though it was one of the gravest of the safety incidents ever occurred at any of the Indian airports, is bound to land Jet Airways, the operator  airline, in deep trouble in the coming days.
The DGCA is viewing the incident very seriously and by all indications, both airline and the pilot who was hailed by the local newspapers and the social media as a hero who miraculously saved the lives of 142 odd passengers and eight crew, are to face the music.
It was at Kochi airport, Kerala, a southern state of India, that the chain of events that culminated in the near-disaster, started on the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 18, 2015.
When Jet Airways flight 9W 555, a Boeing 737-800, arrived from Doha, the Capital of Qatar, over Kochi at 5.45 in the morning, there were not enough visibility for the aircraft to land because of the haze that followed a heavy rain during the previous night. After holding over Kochi for a almost half an hour, the pilot decided to divert to Trivandrum. When it reached Trivandrum, visibility at Trivandrum also was less than what required for a visual landing. (ILS was not available because of a calibration issue).
The captain of the aircraft informed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) that the fuel levels were running low and he should be permitted to attempt landings even though the visibility was insufficient. The pilot tried to land from the ’14’ end of the runway thrice. By the time fuel level dropped to alarming levels according to the pilot and he made a final attempt at the other end of the runway, almost blindly. In between, he made a May Day call also.
A full emergency was declared (even before the May Day call) at the airport and all the steps were taken as per the SOP. ( Getting ambulances ready, informing city fire services also and the alerting the hospitals in the pre-made panel etc.).
The pilot however could manage to land the aircraft. The landing turned out to be without any hitch, even though the captain himself had almost given up hope (He even had said “Good Bye” to the ATC people in between).
The whole incident would never have attracted not much of an attention, being one of the numerous diversion incidents during the inclement weather in Kerala airports, but for the grave issue of shortage of fuel involved and for the desperate frantic way the pilot behaved , making even a May Day call.
And it indeed was one of the most serious safety occurrences that could happen at any airport. And the government and the regulation authorities should be taking immediate actions, treating the incident at par with an actual air crash.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pilot lands Jet Airways flight between Doha and Cochin with only 250 kg fuel left

New Delhi: Passengers on a Jet Airways flight between Doha and Cochin had a close shave on Tuesday after the pilot landed the aircraft with only 250 kg of fuel left in it.

The minimum a Boeing 737 aircraft should have as fuel reserve after landing is about 1500 kg.

“We have grounded the pilots of the flight and will audit the fuel uplift policy of Jet Airways,” said a senior DIrectorate General of Civil Aviation official, who did not want to be identified.

The flight between Doha and Cochin (9W 555) was operated with 141 passengers and eight crew members on board.

The official added that the flight could not land in Cochin due to poor visibility and did three go-arounds. The plane was then diverted to Trivandrum, where it landed after three failed attempts with only 250 kg of fuel left.
21/08/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Freighter’s wing flap falls off at Delhi airport

New Delhi: A major mishap was averted at the Delhi Airport after a part of the landing wing flap of a Cathay Pacific freighter, a Boeing 747-400, fell off at the runway while landing few days back.

There was, however, no emergency landing of the flight CX 2041 which had come from Hong Kong and it landed safely, Cathay Pacific said in a statement today.

“On the arrival of our freighter flight CX 2041 on 27 July 2015, from Hong Kong to Delhi, our Engineering team found parts of the left hand wing flap missing,” the airline said.

The missing part was later found at the runway by Delhi airport staff, the airline said.

Delhi International Airport Limited staff also reported some flap like items found on the runway after the arrival of our aircraft, it said.

We are working closely with the relevant authorities and have launched an inquiry into the same, the statement said.
31/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Air India Flight Makes Emergency Landing in New Delhi

New Delhi: An Air India flight with around 150 passengers and crew on board made an emergency landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) today. All aboard are safe.

According to airport sources, the incident involving Air India flight AI-410 from Patna occurred around 11.00 am.

The source said that after detecting a technical snag the pilot requested the air traffic control (ATC) for permission to make an emergency landing.

“The aircraft landed safely after making an emergency landing. All safety procedures were followed. All passengers are safe and operations at the airport are normal,” an airport official told IANS.

Air India on its part confirmed the incident and reported that all passengers were safe.
31/07/15 IANS/NDTV

Thursday, July 30, 2015

19 near-miss incidents in Mumbai airspace since 2013

New Delhi:  A total of 19 “near-miss” incidents involving aircraft of various operators has been reported in Mumbai airspace in the past two-and-a-half years, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

The number of “near-miss” incidents in Mumbai airspace during 2013 were nine, while in 2014 the number stood at four, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

A total of six such incidents has been reported this year (up to June 30), the minister said, adding that all such incidents are investigated by airprox investigation team and its recommendations are implemented.

“Airprox” is a situation when two aircraft come dangerously close to each other.
30/07/15 PTI/Times of India

 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Airport Accident: Lucky Escape for Capital

 

Thiruvananthapuram: A major disaster was averted on Wednesday afternoon when a fully loaded aviation fuel tanker lorry overturned at the curve of a perimeter road parallel to the runway at Trivandrum International Airport. The speeding lorry rammed into a wall very close to a 11 KV transformer situated beside the Chackai- Domestic terminal stretch, near All Saints’ Junction, and there was a huge leakage of fuel. A section of the wall collapsed following the collision.

The driver of the lorry, who sustained minor injuries, was taken to a private hospital nearby.

The accident occurred around 1.30 pm, when the Hindustan Petroleum lorry carrying the Jet A 1 aviation fuel was heading to the international terminal from the fuel-filling station near the domestic terminal along the perimeter road on the airport premises. When the vehicle reached a point near the All Saints’ Junction, the driver tried to negotiate a curve. Then, the vehicle lost control and rammed into the compound wall bordering the Chackai- Airport stretch and overturned. The driver, identified as Selvaraj, belonging to Thiruvananthapuram, escaped by jumping from the lorry and sustained minor injuries.
30/07/15 New Indian Express

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flight Makes Emergency Landing

Thiruvananthapuram: A New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram Air India flight made an emergency landing at the Nagpur airport on Tuesday owing to suspected engine damage.

The passengers were shifted to a hotel near the airport safely and the flight is expected to take off to its destination on Wednesday morning, Air India officials have said.

The flight with over hundreds of passengers on board took off from the New Delhi airport at 6 pm.  Many Malayalis, including actor and MP Innocent and Principal Secretary P H Kurian, were in the flight.
29/07/15 New Indian Express

 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Air India planes damaged at Delhi airport due to thunderstorm

New Delhi: Two Air India planes were grounded after being damaged in a thunderstorm at the Delhi airport on Saturday afternoon. The planes, a Boeing 787 and a Boeing 777, were parked at bay 18 and 22.

The right engine of Boeing 777 was damaged after it was hit from behind by a cargo container that was blown due to strong wind. According to sources, the Boeing 787’s left engine was damaged as it was hit by an aerobridge.

The aircraft was parked at an aerobridge and technicians were working on it. It is unclear what caused the Boeing 787 mishap but an airport source said the nose wheel of the aircraft rolled causing the  aircraft to turn.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation confirmed the incident. Air India spokesperson  did not respond to a text message seeking comment.
18/07/15 Business Standard

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Air India 787 flies with wheels out with Manmohan Singh on board

New Delhi:  Boeing’s snag-ridden Dreamliner is now giving a taste of its vagaries to the top VVIPs of India. Last Sunday (July 12), former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flew from Amritsar to Delhi on a schedule flight of Air India on a Boeing-787 along with other passengers that had all its wheels jutting out throughout the flight!

Ironically, the trouble with landing gear retraction happened on AI’s newest Dreamliner (VT-ANV) that had joined its fleet only last month. Shortly after take off, the pilot of AI 113 realized that the landing gear had a snag and the wheels were not retracting.

According to senior pilots, such an aircraft cannot be taken to higher altitude of beyond 20,000 feet as the landing gear out means the cabin pressurization and effectiveness of ACs is way below desired level — making the flight very uncomfortable for passengers. Also, “wheels out” means that drag on the plane increases significantly that leads to a spike in fuel burn.

“In normal circumstances, such an aircraft does a ‘gear down ferry’ — usually — without passengers as the plane has to be filled with fuel to reach its engineering base. If such an issue happens in a hilly terrain like while flying out of Srinagar, then the plane has to immediately return to the origin,” said a senior commander.
16/07/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day after bird-hit, patrolling intensified on Amausi runway

Lucknow:  The Lucknow airport authorities increased patrolling around the runway on Saturday, a day after a bird hit an aircraft headed to Delhi with 147 passengers on board.

On Friday, the Delhi-bound Indigo flight (6E-147), with a scheduled departure time of 11.00am, had started taxiing on the runway and was about to take off when a bird hit its engine. The pilot immediately raised an alarm with the air traffic controller (ATC) and aborted the flight. The aircraft later was attended by engineers who took more than five hours to get things corrected. The flight eventually took off for its destination at around 5pm.
12/07/15 Times of India

 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2 Pilots Grounded for Error That Could Have Been Serious

New Delhi: Two Jet Airways pilots have been grounded by civil aviation authorities for failing to follow the “correct technical procedure” on a flight from Delhi to Leh last week, which led to a sudden drop in cabin pressure.

Sources in the civil aviation ministry say an error by the pilots of flight 9W 2368 while landing at India’s highest airport at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir last Tuesday led to a drop in cabin pressure and oxygen masks dropped down. 

A sudden loss of cabin pressure can make passengers uneasy and breathless but the airline says the plane has a “normal landing.”

A spokesperson of Jet Airways said: “Oxygen masks were automatically deployed during landing on-board Jet Airways flight 9W 2368 from Delhi to Leh on July 7. The aircraft had a normal landing and guests were deplaned without any incident.”

The aircraft, a new generation Boeing 737, had to be grounded and the airline operated a relief team to bring back passengers booked from Leh to Delhi. A team of engineers too was sent from Delhi to repair the grounded aircraft.
10/07/15  Sandeep Phukan/NDTV

Friday, July 10, 2015

Why India needs rules for flying drones, soon

New Delhi: Earlier this week two employees of real estate portal housing.com were detained after they were caught flying a drone near Chembur. The Mumbai Police claim the drone operated by the two had a camera attached to it and they were taking photographs of nearby buildings for the website.
According to DCP (Zone VI) Sangramsinh Nishandar ‘no one can take pictures from such devices without prior permission from the police” in Mumbai. However, there is a problem. There has actually been a ban on flying drones in India since October 2014, but not everyone is really aware of it. And this has not resulted in a stop on the sale of drones in India through online e-tailers and even toy store. While the cheapest drones cost as low as Rs 2,000, none of them carry any warning saying it is not legal to fly drones in India.
The ban will be in place for private organisations and individuals till the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) works out regulations for commercial use of drones. And that is not going to be easy given that the move will require clearance from the air navigation service provider, the ministries of defence and home affairs as well as other agencies concerned.
09/07/15 Nandagopal Rajan/Indian Express

 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Oxygen masks deploy on Delhi-Leh Jet flight, plane grounded

New Delhi: An alleged case of pilot error led to a close shave for 123 people on board Jet Airways’ Delhi-Leh flight on Tuesday morning. The aircraft cabin reportedly started de-pressurizing while flight 9W 2368 was landing in Leh and that led to the oxygen masks being deployed.
The aircraft, with 114 passengers and seven crew members, landed safely in Leh. The Boeing 737 was later grounded there. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) is probing the incident.
A Jet spokesperson said: “Oxygen masks were automatically deployed during landing on-board Jet Airways flight 9W 2368 from Delhi to Leh. The aircraft had a normal landing and guests were deplaned without any incident.Jet Airways is operating a relief flight to Leh to fly guests booked on the return flight. We are investigating the circumstances that led to this event…”
07/07/15 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

Sunday, July 05, 2015

 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Accident averted in Nagpur Airport

Nagpur: A major tragedy was averted when the tyres of an aeroplane which was landing on the runaway of Nagpur’s Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport on July 4, 2015 evening burst causing smoke to bellow out.

According to sources, the tyres of an Indigo Aeroplane which was landing on the runaway of Nagpur’s Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport suddenly burst causing thick smoke to bellow. The pilot of Indigo Airlines somehow braked the plane and brought the aeroplane to a halt.

The passengers were de-boarded soon while emergency vehicles and staff ensured that no untoward incidence occurs.
04/07/15 Nagpur Today