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Incident: Indigo A320 at Delhi on Nov 22nd 2017, smoke in cockpit

An Indigo Airbus A320-200, performing flight 6E-719 from Delhi to Vishakhapatnam  with 170 people on board, was climbing out of Delhi when the crew stopped the climb at FL130 reporting smoke in the cockpit. The aircraft returned to Delhi for a safe landing on runway 28 about 25 minutes after departure.

A replacement A320-200  reached Vishakhapatnam with a delay of 100 minutes.

The airline reported on Nov 24th 2017, that the aircraft returned to Delhi due to a false alarm after cabin crew reported a burning odour in the cabin. The aircraft was examined, no leakages or electrical burn residue was found.


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Incident: Jet Airways B738 near Ahmedabad on Nov 21st 2017, cargo smoke indication

A Jet Airways Boeing 737-800,  performing flight 9W-2074 from Udaipur to Mumbai  with 111 passengers, was enroute at FL320 about 90nm east of Ahmedabad  when the crew received a cargo smoke indication and decided to divert to Ahmedabad for a safe landing about 20 minutes later.

The airport reported the aircraft taxied to a remote stand, where all passengers disembarked. No trace of fire, heat or smoke was subsequently found.

The aircraft remained on the ground for about 3 hours, then continued the journey and reached Mumbai with a delay of 3.5 hours


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Incident: Nepal A320 at Kathmandu on Nov 18th 2017, the eagle has blended

A Nepal Airlines Airbus A320-200, performing flight RA-206 from Delhi (India) to Kathmandu (Nepal) with 135 people on board, was on approach to Kathmandu’s runway 02 instructed to maintain minimum approach speed when an eagle impacted the nose of the aircraft, momentarily blended with the nose section causing a large dent and dropped off. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on runway 02 a few minutes later.

The aircraft remained on the ground in Kathmandu for about 83 hours before returning to service.

Nepal Airlines Airbus A320-200 as seen on the ground in Kathmandu


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Incident: GoAir A20N at Delhi on Nov 18th 2017, bird strike

A GoAir Airbus A320-200N, performing flight G8-140 from Delhi to Patna with 174 people on board, was in the initial climb out of Delhi’s runway 28 when a bird impacted the aircraft prompting the crew to stop the climb at FL150 and return to Delhi for a safe landing on runway 27 about 20 minutes after departure.

The airline reported the nose of the aircraft sustained damage.

A replacement A320-200  reached Patna with a delay of 2.5 hours.

The occurrence aircraft resumed service after about 4 hours on the ground.


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Incident: Indigo A320 at Chennai on Nov 16th 2017, bird strike

An Indigo Airbus A320-200,  performing flight 6E-1707 from Chennai (India) to Doha (Qatar) with 134 passengers and 7 crew, departed Chennai’s runway when a bird struck the aircraft near the left hand engine prompting the crew to stop the climb at FL100 and return to Chennai for a safe landing on runway 25 about 15 minutes after departure.

A replacement A320-200  reached Doha with a delay of 3:45 hours.

The occurrence aircraft, that had received damage to a landing light and the leading edge of the wing, returned to service after about 19 hours on the ground.


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Rapid automation in aviation safety

Category : News

Satellite-based radar systems with GPS to map flights across oceans soon

Within a year or so, satellite-based and radar-based systems are to be introduced across the world which will even map oceans with the help of Global Positioning System (GPS) and with modern aircraft carrying a transponder to transmit regular messages of its location, informed Director of Hyderabad Airports G.S. Rao on Monday.

Addressing a gathering at the Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) International Day celebrations at Begumpet airport, he said the changes in the Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) systems are happening at a rapid pace with automation and integration.

Yet there is space for the human intervention for some time to come, he observed.

Apart from Air Traffic Controllers, pilots and maintenance engineers, ATSEPs contribute towards a safe flight from ‘gate’ of one airport to another airport ‘gate’. These technical specialists provide electronics and software support playing a vital role in the aviation safety chain in specification, procurement, installation, calibration, maintenance, testing and certification of ground electronic systems to help control aircraft movements.

The Director said the shift from the totally ground-based air navigation radar systems and from voice based communication to data based communication is happening rapidly, hence it is imperative for skills to be continuously upgraded for the technical personnel.

While the country is on a par with international standards in terms of CNS, the concept of a ‘single sky’ as is being planned for Europe where the regional centres need would be redundant but this is not yet on the policy plan here. Similarly, the concept of ‘virtual’ radar towers in operation in some places abroad is yet to be taken up.

Speakers also explained that the Indian airspace is over 2.8 million square nautical miles assigned by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with peak hours having up to 60 planes an hour although Delhi has registered 82 planes an hour! It means 1,440 aircraft are operating each day and growth rate of aviation in the Asia-Pacific region is in double digits increasing the burden of airports and the CNS personnel.

Airports Authority of India GM O.S. Ekka, DGCA S. Toppo, Air India GM Solomon Jeyabalan, DGM N.S. Chakravarthy, IMD in-charge Director (Hyd) Y.K. Reddy, also spoke at the function.


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Wild boar enters runway of Vizag airport, gets hit by Indigo flight

Passengers on board the Hyderabad-bound IndiGo flight at the Visakhapatnam airport had a close shave after a wild boar strayed onto the runway and was hit by the airplane. The flight, 6E-742, had around 150 passengers and crew members at the time of the accident.

The incident took place as the plane was taking off. IndiGo airlines said that the pilot had noticed the boar but had no option but to hit the animal and take off.

After taking off, the pilot realised that the landing gear of the flight, failed to retract. Following this, he spent fuel hovering above the city, before he landed back at the Visakhapatnam airport.

The tyres were then cleaned on the ground, and the plane took off again for Hyderabad, at 1:00am.

“Flight 6E-742 from Vishakhapatnam to Hyderabad hit a wild boar on the runway during take-off. The captain immediately reported the matter to ATC and decided to hold over Vizag. After runway inspection, the pilot carried out a precautionary landing at Vizag airport after 45 minutes for necessary inspection,” an IndiGo statement said.


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Incident: Indigo A320 enroute on Nov 11th 2017, smoking laptop

An Indigo Airbus A320-200, performing flight 6E-445 from Thiruvananthapuram to Bangalore, was enroute when passengers near seat row 24 detected a burning odour and informed cabin crew. Cabin crew identified a bag in the overhead lockers was emitting smoke and sparks and discharged fire extinguishers onto and into the bag. Subsequently they discovered a laptop, that had overheated and was the source of the smoke, secured the laptop in a container filled with water and reseated passengers near that seat row. The aircraft continued the flight to destination and landed safely.

The airline reported cabin crew detected the smoke of smell in the cabin, noticed minor sparks from a bag in an overhead locker near seat row 24, notified the flight crew and followed the necessary procedures including relocating passengers near seat row 24. The aircraft continued to destination for a normal landing. DGCA has been informed about the occurrence.

There is serious doubt however that the laptop had become the hottest laptop on the planet


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PRECAUTIONS DURING WINTER FLYING

Category : Aims , News

Winter is already here and with it, the associated flying hazards during Winter Season. Number of accidents/serious incidents has occurred around the world during winter months.

The accident of Air India, Air Bus 320, at Jaipur, on 05 Jan 14, which fortunately did not result in casualties, highlights the need for involvement by all stakeholders to prevent any accident/incidents. There is a need to learn lessons from the investigation reports of such accidents lest history repeats itself.

Since the Air India, Air Bus 320 accident, DGCA in coordination with AAI has taken number of initiatives to prevent any incidents/ accidents during fog conditions at Delhi airport, which is generally worst affected. The ILS at Lucknow and Jaipur has been upgraded to CAT III A .The Operators have been advised by DGCA to have adequate fuel for a diversion to minimum two airports, mainly, Jaipur and Ahmadabad. A close watch is kept by the Air Traffic Management Staff  on weather developments at Delhi and surrounding airports. The inbound traffic  particularly  schedule flights are allowed to take off for Delhi only after evaluation of existing weather and trends. This is a proactive step by DGCA and AAI and must be appreciated.

Aviation Safety Management Society of India which is dedicated to promote Aviation and Aviation Safety and Efficiency of Aviation Operations in the country, wishes to disseminate certain precautions which should be taken by the Operators during winter flying, to prevent any incident/accident.

Hazards Associated During Winter Flying and Precautions to be Taken.

Lack of Visual reference, due Poor Visibility caused by Fog or Low Clouds.

Visual Illusions, Spatial Disorientation and Loss of Situational Awareness.

Western Disturbances associated with Thunderstorms, Wet/contaminated runways.

Icing, Snow blindness/White out.

Fog and low clouds leading to poor visibility conditions are a major flight   safety hazard during winter months particularly in Northern, North Eastern and to some extent in Western parts of India. Hence, it is essential for the Operators/Accountable Executives, Air Crew, Ground Crew and Dispatchers to be fully aware about the phenomenon of fog and the hazards associated with it. Pilots must be fully aware about the timings, extent, duration and severity of fog.

Formation of fog, its thickening and improvement in visibility are quite unpredictable. Although most of the time the Met Forecast is reasonably accurate yet there are many instances when pilots have got caught in very poor visibility conditions, may be due to faulty Met forecast or lack of  intelligent weather  analysis on the part of the Pilots. Hence, it is very important for all Operators and Pilots to keep the hazards of winter flying in mind while planning flying.

The Accountable Executives/Managers should  ensure that all the Pilots have gone through the necessary flying, simulator  and ground training with added emphasis on Low Visibility Operations, as per the DGCA CIVIL AVIATION REQUIREMENT, SECTION 8 – AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS SERIES ‘C’ ,PART I,Issue I, Dated 13th June 2011, Effective, 01 April 2017.

All Weather Operations (AWO), OPERATIONS CIRCULAR 09 of 2017 dated 18 Aug 2017 on Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) and Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) reduction tool kit, is a very comprehensive document and all the pilots should be made knowledgeable about it.

All the pilots should be current in instrument flying, should have undergone Poor Visibility Operations Training (LVO) and clearances etc as per DGCA CAR.

Thorough weather briefing must be obtained before undertaking any flying. Briefing from the Met Department and various Weather Sites should be complemented with the experience of having operated in particular area or region. Knowledge of typical weather phenomenon affecting specific areas like Delhi and adjoining areas, during winters is of paramount importance.

Most of the times, the fog thickens at sunrise and may last for long hours before clearing or may not  clear for hours or even days. Whenever, the surface temperature and dew point temperature are very close to each other, adverse weather and dense fog can be expected.

Special precautions need to be taken while flying during Night, Dawn and Dusk. Night flying during winters should be undertaken with extra caution since poor visibility during night flying is a serious hazard. Use of landing lights during approach in foggy conditions should be avoided since it may degrade the visibility and lead to visual illusions and disorientation.

Low clouds may form quickly as the fog lifts and cover large areas, particularly in the hilly regions; they can cover the entire valleys without any gaps for penetration.

Remember Fuel is Life. Hence meticulous Fuel planning and close Monitoring of the fuel state is of great importance since one may be forced to divert due to poor visibility conditions/closer of runway due to some occurrence and most of the time, a diversion may not be easily available, due to widespread fog ,covering hundreds of kilometres.

Thorough planning and preparation for the flight is an inescapable necessity and should not be ignored. Pre Flight briefing for operations during poor visibility conditions should be much more comprehensive and the pilots must plan for contingencies.

A very high level of situational awareness must be achieved related to prevailing weather and its trends, terrain, availability and serviceability of Nav and approach aids and watch  hours of the neighbouring airports, in the vicinity of  the destination airport.

Continuous Monitoring of the weather situation at the destination, with particular emphasis, on visibility and RVR through ATIS, RT and other aircraft in the general area of your route and destination is strongly recommended.

Timely and sound decision making based on the overall situational awareness, should be inculcated among the pilots. Overconfidence and complacency must be kept under check.

Emphasis must be laid on ensuring Stabilised approaches as per the DGCA guidelines and there should be no hesitation on part of the pilots to go around and if required, divert in time.

Chief of Flight Safety, Base Managers and Dispatchers should be knowledgeable, fully involved and vigilant, particularly, during the severe weather phase. They   should keep a close watch on the progress of the flights and keep pilots abreast with latest developments about the weather at the destination airports and neighbouring areas, for possible diversion.

In depth knowledge about the aircraft, systems, procedures, understanding the phenomenon of visual illusions, spatial disorientation, process of recovery from unusual situations, strict adherence to SOP’s and rules, regulations and correct altimeter settings, are key to successful and safe accomplishment of the flights.

Helicopters.

While most of the precautions and suggestions enumerated above are equally applicable to helicopters, yet some additional aspects need to be kept in mind.

Helicopters generally fly at low altitudes and ground contact flying is resorted to by most of the pilots. Hence, it is of utmost importance to be fully knowledgeable about the terrain along the route and 20 to 30 miles on either side of the route.

Knowledge about the Minimum Enroute Altitude, Safe Altitude, MORA, Grid MORA is essential.

Know the obstructions in your area of operations. Pylons, Communication/chimney towers, electric/telephone cables, trolley cables particularly in hilly areas pose a major hazard and knowledge of these is important for helicopter pilots.

Adverse weather leading to poor visibility and hilly terrain are a dangerous combination and great caution needs to be exercised during hill flying.

Operations in snow bound areas require special skill levels. Special briefing and training is essential for safe operations in these areas. Snow blindness (white out), blowing snow during pick up, hover and sit down, skids/wheels getting stuck in snow, disorientation and White out are some of the aspects which need to be taken into account for snow bound area operations.

Ice formation above freezing level is a serious hazard. Anti-icing measures like serviceable and available ice detectors, heating elements, need for frequent movement of controls to prevent Jamming of controls due ice formation, knowledge about freezing level and potential of ice formation are some of the areas which require the  attention of the Pilots.

Check and ensure the serviceability of wind screen wipers, pitot heaters. Do not forget to switch on pitot heaters whenever required and switching them off on landing.

Be current in instrument flying and have full knowledge about visual illusions, Spatial Disorientation and Controlled Flight into Terrain.

Tendency to look outside while flying on instruments is dangerous since outside clues and distractions, may cause spatial disorientation.

Always plan for contingencies, have thorough pre flight and weather briefing. Do not hesitate to carry out a precautionary landing at any suitable place if unable to continue the flight due weather or poor visibility (ASC 09/2013).

Take timely decision to either divert or land at suitable place since delayed decision may complicate the situation, leading to compromise on safety or an unfortunate accident.

Accountable Manager, Chief Pilot, Ops Managers should involve themselves to ensure flight following, monitoring of weather and keeping the pilots abreast with the weather developments. They should ensure that the pilots have no pressure on them to undertake the task in the face of adverse weather and poor visibility conditions.

Overconfidence, complacency are to be avoided. Never take chances with the poor weather conditions and don’t be overconfident. Overconfidence has taken the lives of many pilots.

There may be occasions when frustration may set in because of the delays and postponement of departure timings/dates and long wait on ground, due prolonged bad weather spells. Number of  pilots have taken chances with weather under such conditions and have met with serious /fatal accidents. Please be aware of the grave danger, under such conditions and take very considered decisions.

Conclusion

Although efforts have been made to include all the necessary precautions which should be taken during winter flying, yet some important aspects may have been missed out. Operators may like to add other aspects which may be typical to their type and area of operations.

Operators should always endeavour to match the man with the machine, mission and weather conditions. Adequate training in instrument flying, simulator flying, currency, recency in area of operations, Comprehensive briefing covering the entire spectrum of the various aspects of the operations, good CRM, adherence to SOP’s, involvement of Chief  Pilots, Chief of Flight Safety and close monitoring  of the performance of the pilots, are key to the successful  and safe conduct of the operations.

Respecting the weather and courage of conviction to say no if the safety of the flight is likely to be compromised due weather, must be impressed upon the pilots.

ASMSI wishes you all safe and efficient flying operations during winters.

Many Many Happy Landings. 



Air Commodore BS Siwach AVSM YSM VM
Director General
Aviation Safety Management Society of India

 


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