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Singapore flight with ‘nose gear glitch’ causes scare at IGI

Singapore flight with ‘nose gear glitch’ causes scare at IGI

A Singapore Airlines plane, carrying 228 people, Wednesday made an emergency landing at the airport in the national capital after suffering a glitch with its nose wheel, an official said.

A “full emergency” was declared on board a Delhi-bound Singapore Airlines flight with 228 passengers on board after the pilots detected a technical glitch in the front wheel of the aircraft. Singapore Airlines flight SQ 406 landed safely at the Delhi airport on Wednesday evening but the jet had to be towed away, due to which the runway was closed for about 18 minutes, delaying some flights, a Delhi airport official aware of the development said.

Airport officials, who did not want to be identified, said that at around 8pm, the pilots on flight SQ 406 detected a glitch in the nose wheel and alerted the Delhi air traffic control (ATC) officials, who then provided a priority landing slot. The flight landed at runway 28 at around 8.20 pm.

A passenger on the flight, who did not want to identified, said that the pilot also announced that the aircraft had lost its steering capacity. “We were all set to land but the flight started to ascend… We were all scared. The flight made another attempt to land and did so with a jerk. We were asked to be prepare for a hard landing. The aircraft stopped in the middle of the runway and had to be towed away,” the passenger said.

The Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which operates the Indira Gandhi International Airport, said in a statement, “There was some technical issue with the front wheel of the aircraft. We had made all the possible arrangements and fire tenders along with medical team were kept on standby to tackle any emergency condition.”

As the plane landed, it said, all the crew members and passengers on board were marked safe. “However, the aircraft had to be towed away from the runway. Runway clearance took 18 minutes from 8.20 pm to 8.38 pm,” DIAL said.

The runway was again made available for flight operations from 8.45 pm, it added. The aircraft was docked at the parking stand by 8.49 pm and the emergency was called off at 8.50 pm.

ATC officials, however, said that the closure of the runway for 18 minutes delayed some departing flights. “Since the wheel of the aircraft had come out in time, there was not much impact on flights getting delayed. Runway 28 was being used for departures. Some flights ready to depart had to be put on hold until the runway was cleared. The lag is expected to be normal by late [Wednesday] night when the frequency of departures is lower,” the official, who did not want to be named, said.

The number of flights affected by the incident was not available with the DIAL till the time this report went to press.


IGI’s new ATC tower to let planes fly in closer

NEW DELHI: Aircraft approaching Delhi’s IGI will soon have reduced separation, or will fly closer to each other, increasing IGI Airport’s hourly flights handling capacity by 4 to 5 flights. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has started testing software at the new air traffic control (ATC) tower from April 12. After the mandatory month-long testing, the new tower will be operational from May 11. In another three months, the new tower — India’s tallest at 102.9 metres — will control the entire air traffic of Delhi’s airspace and IGI.

“The new tower will improve situational awareness of controllers. As of now, we maintain 4 nautical miles (7.5 km) separation between aircraft coming in to land. Once the new tower is fully operational, we will be able to reduce the separation to 3 nautical miles (5.5 km). This will help increase Delhi’s hourly capacity by 4 to 5 flights. However, this will be done once the required ground infrastructure is in place at IGI (in terms of runway-related infra like rapid exit-ways) to handle the increased flow of air traffic,” Vineet Gulati, member (air navigation services) and head of AAI’s air traffic control told.

The software testing of the new ATC complex has to be mandatorily done for a month to check the robustness of the systems. “We are currently doing that from 7.30am to 7.30pm. Once successfully completed, we will begin parallel operations from the new tower on May 11,” said Gulati.

The process of shifting handling of air traffic at IGI to the new tower will be a gradual one. “First, the new tower will be in shadow mode and controllers there will simply see air traffic being managed from the old tower. In the second stage, trial parallel operations will start. Parallel operations will happen for three months and then the new one will be fully operational. And finally, the old tower will be in shadow mode observing what is happening in the new tower,” said Gulati.

AAI will keep the old tower in a state of complete readiness once operations shift fully to the new tower for at least six months. Later, it may retrofit and keep the old ATC tower complex mothballed to install the next generation of ATC software within the next decade.

At 102.9 metres, the tower is the tallest ATC tower in India and zooms over the current 60-metre-high tower which was built in 1999. This tower is crucial in the plan submitted by UK-based ATC specialist NATS to Delhi Airport for increasing the hourly flight handling capacity of its runways.

This tower will give ATC controllers a bird’s eye view of operations on the three runways as well as the fourth one that is scheduled to be ready by 2022.

UK-based ATC specialist NATS, which was hired by DIAL to suggest means of augmenting aircraft movement at its three runways, has said a mix of steps can help increase the hourly flight handling capacity of the three runways from 67 now to over 96 beyond winter of 2019 in a phased manner.


Fog Hits Operations at Delhi Airport, 10 Flights Diverted

New Delhi: Ten flights have been diverted from Delhi airport on Monday morning due to fog, an airport official said. 

“These ten flights have been diverted from Delhi airport between 7.45 am and and 9.10 am,” the official said.

“The visibility today has been low…. Nine domestic flights and one international flight has been diverted from Delhi airport due to low visibility,” the official added.


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Soon, you can take a flight from Delhi’s second airport at Hindon

New Delhi: Civilian flight operations from Hindon Airbase is likely to start from March, a government official said Wednesday.

The Indian Air Force has already permitted use of the airbase for civilian flights under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).

Flights under the UDAN are expected to start operating from Hindon airbase from the first week of March, the official said.

The move is also expected to help in reducing the load at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital.


Departures At Delhi Airport On Hold, Flights Diverted Due To Fog

The flights at Delhi airport could not take off since 7:30 am due to heavy fog and three flights were diverted.

NEW DELHI: Departures at the Delhi airport were put on hold this morning due to bad weather. Flights have not taken off from the Indira Gandhi International Airport since 7:30 am due to heavy fog and three flights have been diverted, news agency ANI reported.

Flight carrier Jet Airways also tweeted about a weather update, saying, “Due to adverse weather conditions (fog) at #Delhi airport, our flights to and from Delhi have been affected.”


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Top Air India pilot fails alcohol test, another takes off without it; both grounded

The Delhi-London flight was delayed after its captain tested positive for alcohol in his breath-analyser test while the Delhi-Bangkok flight was called back, 30 minutes, after it took-off as it was found its pilot had not taken the test

An Air India pilot was grounded minutes before he was to fly over 200 passengers from New Delhi to London on Sunday afternoon because his mandatory pre-flight medical tests showed he was too drunk to commandeer the aircraft.

A second-time offender who was booked in August for a similar offence, 56-year-old Capt. Arvind Kathpalia faces licence suspension for three years.

Airline officials familiar with the matter said the London-bound AI 111, scheduled to depart at 2:45 pm, was delayed after its captain, Kathpalia, who is also the director of Air India’s flight operations, was found with more alcohol in his bloodstream than the permissible limit.

Kathpalia was declared unfit to fly as he had 007% BAC (blood alcohol compatible). The airline got the test results at 1:30 pm, a little over an hour before departure, and had to scramble to get another pilot to fly the Boeing 787 that goes non-stop to London’s Heathrow International airport.

 

Air India officials declined to reveal the identity of the pilot, and it was unclear whether his blood alcohol level and other mandatory medical parameters were within prescribed range.

 

An FIR was lodged against Kathpalia on August 24 after the pilots’ union alleged that the episode involved forgery, intimidation of a doctor, and violations of aviation rules.

Three official spokespersons of Air India and its chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola did not respond to repeated calls and text messages.


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Another Airbus A-320 Neo grounded by IndiGo after engine snag

New Delhi: India’s biggest airline IndiGo has grounded another Airbus A-320 Neo after the flight on its way from Kolkata to Delhi saw one of its Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines develop a snag. Flight 6E 474 suffered extensive damage, although it landed safely, joining the already long list of planes grounded for engine replacement by PW, the daily further said.“An IndiGo A-320 Neo has been grounded and is undergoing a routine engine change. There is no impact on our flight operations,” an IndiGo spokesperson said. Earlier, IndiGo had said that five Airbus A320 Neo aircraft were already grounded at Delhi airport due to engine snag. In India, IndiGo and GoAir use PW-powered A-320 Neos and both have been plagued with engine snags and groundings. GoAir had also grounded three of its Neos less than two weeks ago.


Delhi’s IGI Airport to get TaxiBots to pull aircraft from Parking Bay to the Runway

New Delhi : In a bid to control air pollution and to help airlines save fuel, Delhi’s IGI airport operator is all set to buy TaxiBots, which are pilot-controlled semi-robotic machines.

According to a DIAL spokesperson, the initiative will significantly improve the quality of air at the airport and nearby areas.

Delhi IGI Airport: In a bid to control air pollution and to help airlines save fuel, Delhi’s IGI airport operator is all set to buy TaxiBots, which are pilot-controlled semi-robotic machines. The TaxiBot will pull the aircraft from parking bays to the runway with the engines switched off. Moreover, only when the aircraft reaches the runway starting point, the ignition will be turned on for the take-off. The airport operator said that these bots will be only used for departing flights. According to DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) officials, during certification trials, the cost of fuel used during taxiing by the bots was brought down by 85 per cent.

An officer was quoted in the report stating that a Taxibot will be driven to an aircraft stationed at the apron area, which is preparing to take off. Then the plane and the Taxibot will be attached. The Taxibot will hold the aircraft’s nose wheel and will lift it slightly. Following this, the plane’s pilot will transport the aircraft from the terminal gate to the runway without switching the aircraft’s engine on. To enable warm-ups and technical checks, the engine will be turned on only a short while before the take-off, the official added.

Currently, the engines are switched on after passenger boarding is over and remains on while taxiing till the time the aircraft reaches its designated runway. The report claimed that the TaxiBot can attain a maximum speed of 23 knots. The officer claimed that by using the bots, the airport will benefit in many ways such as congestion at boarding gates will reduce, carbon dioxide emission along with other noxious gases will reduce and also the risk of jet blast incidents at the apron area will reduce. Further to this, the officer also claimed that the airlines will save fuel and reduce damage to a plane’s brakes.

According to a DIAL spokesperson, the initiative will significantly improve the quality of air at the airport and nearby areas. Additionally, it will help in reducing noise pollution as well as fuel consumption.

In the month of September, a three-month trial of the TaxiBots will start in association with KSU Aviation Pvt Ltd, which will hand over the TaxiBots to DIAL. The report also mentioned that the TaxiBots have been manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)


Lessons to be Learnt from the Accident to B 200 Aircraft at Delhi Airport on 22 Dec 15.

Lessons to be Learnt from the Accident to B 200 Aircraft at Delhi Airport on 22 Dec 15.

Beechcraft Super King Air B-200 aircraft was involved in an accident on 22.12.2015 while operating a flight from IGI Airport, New Delhi to Ranchi. The flight was under the command of a CPL holder with another CPL holder as Second in Command. There were ten persons on board including two flight crew members. The aircraft was loaded with spare parts and equipment for the rectification of a Helicopter at Ranchi.

The weather at the time of accident at Delhi was foggy with visibility reported as 800 meters and winds of 3 knots. The previous METAR which was available with the flight crew mentioned visibility of 600 meters. The visibility was marginal and it is inferred that the marginal visibility was a contributory factor to the accident.

The aircraft was given take-off clearance from runway 28. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft progressively turned left with simultaneous loss of height. Finally it impacted terrain and came to final rest in the holding tank of the water treatment plant of the airport. There was post impact fire and the aircraft was destroyed. All passengers and flight crew were fatally injured.

It is learnt that the accident was caused due to engagement of the autopilot without selecting the heading mode by the flight crew just after lift-off (before attaining sufficient height) in poor foggy conditions and not taking corrective action to control the progressive increase in left bank; thereby, allowing the aircraft to traverse 180° turn causing the aircraft to lose height in a steep left bank attitude followed by the aircraft impacting the ground.

It appears that the flight crew were not confidant in their ability to operate this flight due to the poor foggy condition prevailing at the time of planned departure. With an understanding that immediately after take-off, autopilot will be engaged and the aircraft will fly away on the autopilot, the crew cancelled the taxi clearance and carried out the serviceability checks of the operation of (engagement/ disengagement) of the autopilot. The flight crew during discussion among themselves regarding the conduct of flight had decided to rotate after 120 knots (additional 10 knots) considering tail wind component of 06 knots. The take-off roll and rotation of the aircraft was carried out as discussed. Their decision to increase the rotation speed by 10 knots to allow for the tail wind of 06 knots itself shows that they were ignorant of the fact that the tailwinds do not affect the rotation speeds of the aircraft at all.

Just after lift-off, even without retracting the landing gear, the crew engaged the autopilot but did not engage the Heading Mode ‘of the autopilot. This hurried and non-standard action by the flight crew by engaging the auto-pilot immediately after lift-off reveals their eagerness to let the aircraft be flown by autopilot and underlines their inability to fly the aircraft manually until autopilot engagement height was achieved.

As per the Pilot Operating Handbook procedure, after lift–off and establishing of positive rate of climb, the landing gear is retracted. Thereafter the climb power is set and the autopilot should be engaged only after attaining the height of 500 feet AGL. Engagement of the autopilot without engaging the Heading Mode resulted in the aircraft turning left probably due to the existing left bank or inadvertent manual input by the flight crew at the time of engagement of the autopilot. The bank angle increased progressively and beyond 45 degrees, a situation the flight crew could not decipher because of their disorientation. After disengagement of the autopilot, probability exists that the flight crew had further increased the bank instead of taking corrective action to decrease the bank. This allowed the bank angle to increase beyond 45degree’s resulting in multiple altitude warning and stalling of the aircraft. The aircraft crashed after turning almost 180 Degrees from the direction of the take-off.

From the analysis of the accident Investigation Report, following lessons can be learnt:-

  • Involvement of Accountable Manager, Chief of Flight Safety.

As mentioned above, though in the Organisation chart it is specifically indicated that there will be Chief of SMS & Chief of Flight Safety with a full-fledged Department of Flight Safety, none was existing. From the discussions with the Officers who were designated as the Chief of Flight Safety in the present and past, it was noted that as and when any regulatory requirement arose, an Officer was nominated for the purpose. At times Officers have conveyed their unwillingness to the Accountable Manager & Alternate Accountable Manager on the work load grounds and not being trained on Flight Safety. The Chief of Flight Safety was interviewed by the DGCA officials for the post of the Chief of Flight Safety and the aspect of lack of training on flight safety was brought out. Approval was accorded for the Chief of Flight Safety for 06 months on the precondition of Flight Safety training.

The Organisation seems to suffer from Complacency which can be described as a loss of awareness of potential dangers. In the present case flying undertaken by the flight crew wherein both, the PF and the PM, were neither possessing adequate flying experience nor could mutually add or impart quality flying experience in the real sense of the terms. The combination of this flight crew was continued over other Type qualified Pilots in the Organisation. Therefore, though the numbers of flying hours flown by this flight crew were increasing, but whether it added to qualitative improvement in their flying skills is questionable? All this while, the highly experienced Examiner was meagrely rostered for the flights.

To conclude, there was non-existence of safety culture, non-existence of SMS and nil supervision of the operations at ground level.

The Safety & Quality Policies were existing on paper, but no documentary evidence existed to prove that effective procedures for implementation of these policies were followed.

 

Lessons Learnt.

  • Aviation is a serious business which has no place for complacency, casual and careless attitude. A proper Risk assessment must be carried out before undertaking any flight.
  • Lack of skill and knowledge about the aircraft, its systems, equipment , Manuals, SOP’s, Checks and procedures, Emergency Procedures , various charts, Spatial Disorientation and  Situation awareness  have led to many accidents. Hence, it is essential to address these areas of knowledge and skill.
  • Proper supervision and close monitoring of the performance and competence levels of the pilots is of paramount importance. The role of Supervisors, who should be knowledgeable, involved and competent, to ensure safety of operations, cannot be over emphasised.
  • It is the duty of the supervisors to ensure that the man, machine and mission are matched in a professional manner particularly during adverse weather conditions. The Supervisors should be held accountable for any lapses.
  • Ignorance or violation of SOP’s have caused number of accidents/incidents. SOP’s must be followed meticulously at all times.
  • Safety Management System is a proven process of managing risk and building Safety culture in an organisation. Hence, it must be implemented by all Operators in letter and spirit. The Accountable Manager/Executive should be held accountable for lapses in the sincere implementation of Safety Management System and any compromises on safety.
  • Proper training and competency of Accountable Manager, Chief of Operations and Chief of Flight Safety can go a long way in ensuring safety and efficiency of Aviation Operations.
  • The lack of proper Crew Resource Management was evident in the accident. It is imperative that Crew Members apply the knowledge about the CRM intelligently during flying operations and remain vigilant and situationally aware during conduct of Take Off and Approach, landing, particularly, since the margin of safety is low, during these phases of operations.

 


GET READY FOR RADA, FIRST ROBOT AT INDIAN AIRPORTS TO BE DEPLOYED BY VISTARA

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At present, RADA can scan Boarding Passes and provide information on Departure Gates, Weather Conditions of Destination City and Real Time Flight Status.

NEW DELHI: Now, robots may soon greet you at Indian Airports. The first such use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been made Tata Sons-Singapore Airlines JV Airline Vistara which will station ‘RADA’ — a robot that uses AI to assist customers, address their queries and entertain them — at its Delhi Airport Terminal 3 lounge from July 5 2018.

“The robot is aimed at helping the airline offer a seamless experience and an ‘intuitively thoughtful’ on-ground service to its customers… During its initial stage, RADA will be placed at Vistara’s Signature Lounge at Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3 from July 5, 2018, to assist customers using the lounge before they board their flights. ‘RADA’ will be further developed over a period of time in terms of functionality and features for future use cases, after gauging customer feedback,” Vistara said in a statement.

At present, RADA can scan boarding passes and provide information on departure gates, weather conditions of destination city and real time flight status. “It greets customers and interacts with them using basic hand movements, and is capable of moving around in the lounge on predefined pathways. Additionally, it can engage with kids and adults alike by playing games and other multimedia content such as songs and videos,” the airline said.

Vistara CEO Leslie Thng said: “With RADA, we aim to change the way people interact and fly with an airline. We will be developing ‘RADA’ based on customer feedback and equipping it with the most effective features in the time to come. Our steadfast focus remains to be on delighting customers across all touch points, and we’re confident that ‘RADA’ will help us take the ‘new feeling’ to the next level.”

RADA has been conceived, designed and engineered by a team of technology experts and apprentices from Tata Innovation Lab with support from students of reputed institutions. The “Made in India” robot is built on a chassis of four wheels, enabling it to rotate 360 degrees, and has three in-built cameras for cognitive interaction.

Vistara Chief Information and Innovation Officer Ravinder Pal Singh said: “It was a realisation that the talented, young employees engaged in ground services, gain immense customer service experience on the job, but the limited scope of their routine work could challenge their true potential…. we thought of inventing a robot that can help us enhance customer experience by gradually taking over the routine, mundane tasks. The basic premise of the thought was to develop a simple and extremely cost-effective practical robot that can engage in basic human interaction to begin with, and can further be developed to perform more complex tasks…”

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