The descent into tragedy at Calicut | India News

MUMBAI: For the Air India Express flight that crashed in Calicut on Friday, the issues seem to have begun throughout descent in heavy rains, with problem in recognizing the runway from the cockpit.
What adopted was a number of things that had the pilots decide to land as an alternative in unfavourable tailwinds, touching down on a moist runway, most likely face issues with braking motion of plane all of which had the Boeing 737 aircraft overshoot the tabletop runway to hurry right into a gorge, crash and kill 18 individuals.
It started effectively with the AIX pilots overflying the runway to line up for an method to land on runway 28, in keeping with knowledge from flightradar24, a dwell flight monitoring app. The norm is to land an plane into the wind and runway 28 had headwinds, beneficial for secure touchdown. But through the descent the pilots seem to have encountered their first drawback with climate. Aviation climate report (known as METAR, issued each 30 minutes) for that point confirmed few mild clouds at 300 ft. “The pilots most likely couldn’t spot runway 28 from their cockpit by the point the plane descended to 265 ft above floor stage. For Calicut airport, that is the peak at which pilots must discontinue the descend to land and perform a go-around if the runway isn’t in sight,’’ mentioned a senior commander, requesting anonymity.
The pilots then determined to strive an method and land from the other finish, that’s on runway 10. They have to hunt permission from the air traffic controller, who in flip, consults METAR for wind pace and course on the runway the pilots have sought permission to land on. “If the runway has tailwinds of 15 kt or increased, it isn’t thought of secure for touchdown,’’ mentioned a senior commander. Other pilots mentioned {that a} tailwind of greater than 10 kt for a table-top runway like Calicut must be thought of unsafe for touchdown. The METAR report for the time of accident confirmed a windspeed of 12 kt, from “course 260”. It primarily interprets to a tailwind of 11 kt for runway 10. But pilots spoke about attainable inaccuracies within the METAR report. For occasion: in August 2017, a SpiceJet plane went off the runway throughout touchdown in Calicut airport. The investigation report famous that METAR confirmed zero winds on the time of incident, however the flight crew skilled winds over 12-15 kt. “From the place of the wreckage it does appear like the plane landed in tailwinds that had been stronger than what METAR reported,’’ mentioned an examiner on B737 plane.
There are different essential questions. The images of the wreckage exhibits the plane wings with pace brakes not deployed. Said the senior commander: “We don’t know what occurred after landing. But the AIX commander seems to have switched off the engines. After all, he was an IAF pilot, he would have had the presence of thoughts to change off the engine and stop a attainable hearth following the affect.’’
Another issue that quite a few pilots spoke about was “aquaplaning’’, which refers to a situation whereby a layer of water builds between plane wheel and runway floor resulting in lack of braking motion. “Apart from aquaplaning, if there are important rubber deposits from earlier touchdowns as effectively, then the braking motion could be actually poor,” mentioned the examiner. The Calicut airport runway additionally wears a little bit of bulge in the direction of its mid portion. “So a touchdown plane good points momentum after crossing the mid part of the runway,’’he added. Pilot fatigue is one other essential side that must be regarded into, mentioned AIX pilots.
Despite all these elements, what may have nonetheless saved the day is EMAS or Engineering Material Arresting System. It’s a mattress of engineered supplies constructed on the finish of a runway which arrests an overshooting plane because the wheels plough into its yielding floor. It was one of many suggestions made for tabletop runways, put up the 2010 Mangalore air crash which killed 158 individuals. “But the Airports Authority of India appears to have seen it as an pointless expenditure,’’ the examiner added.
What may have nonetheless saved the day is EMAS or Engineering Material Arresting System — a mattress of engineered
materials on the finish of a runway to arrest an overshooting plane. It was one of many suggestions made for tabletop runways put up the 2010 Mangalore crash. ‘But AAI appears to have seen it as an pointless expenditure,’ an examiner mentioned.

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