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Old 28th July 2017, 16:08   #46
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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I think you and a lot of others were aware of that tragic accident in Mumbai in December 2015 where an Air India Ground personnel was sucked into the engine of a taxying A319
Yes,i have gone through that incident report and would like to inform you that the co pilot was undergoing SLF - supervised line flying. This means that the co pilot flies with an instructor for X number of hours on line flights with passengers to make him aware on his jobs and to assess how he does, once the hours are done, there is a release check with an examiner where the co pilot is allowed to fly unsupervised. That poor guy was under training and one can make mistake undergoing training, the entire responsibility of any mishap during SLF is with the trainer. Co pilot says he saw thumbs up, other say they did not do it. In aviation, your procedures are your holy bible, the moment you go lax or skip some thing, you are inviting trouble.

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In the USA you need 1500 hours to be a First Officer in an airline. Here the bar is much lower. And with more and more large aircraft orders being signed by India's airlines, how long will it be before we have 2000 hours (total) and 400 hours total FOs paired together flying in the Indian skies???
For a captain, every one has a bar of minimum 3000 hours and the first officers have 300-400 hours so the cockpit experience would not be below 3000 hours ever. The markets in India and USA are different, if they raise the bar for FO's, they would have to bring in expats which would not help the unemployment situation. Yes, with an inexperienced FO, you have an issue but history says that it has not caused any thing significant yet in India, if it had, the rules would have been revised. Every country has incidents but overall safety record in India is good, its improving day by day with new airplanes and new policies.

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How many such reports in India have been challenged by the pilot community? Hardly anything I am aware of . Which basically comes to the conclusion that the issues which these reports raise are real issues- which some in the pilot fraternity refuse to accept.
Pilots in India do not challenge because the regulator here is not as transparent as FAA/CAA. The first thing they do for any issue is de roster the pilots, add a plethora of enquiries, so many days of leave without pay and future repercussions for challenging any government official, babu dom wins. Recently the DGCA head did say some nice words on television for captain's challenging the 1 year notice period rule, if that is how captains are treated, imaging the plight of a poor junior first officer against DGCA. No one in India dares to entangle with govt offices and we are no different, apologize, face the action and move ahead.

FAA allows pilots breath analyzer tests to show a reading of 0.04, DGCA has a tolerance of 0.0. Some times the BA can catch a false reading due to mouthwash, perfume etc but then dgca does not want to listen. India is one of the few countries which enforce a 100% BA test before each flight, some rules in India are way strict compared to other countries.

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Old 28th July 2017, 17:00   #47
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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Y

For a captain, every one has a bar of minimum 3000 hours and the first officers have 300-400 hours so the cockpit experience would not be below 3000 hours ever. The markets in India and USA are different, if they raise the bar for FO's, they would have to bring in expats which would not help the unemployment situation. Yes, with an inexperienced FO, you have an issue but history says that it has not caused any thing significant yet in India, if it had, the rules would have been revised. Every country has incidents but overall safety record in India is good, its improving day by day with new airplanes and new policies.


.
The minimum 1500 hours requirement in the USA came in only a few years ago. Probably just about when I left the USA 2012/13 or thereabouts. It was criticised as there is virtually no evidence suggesting a strong correlation between hours and accidents.

Personally, I always felt the USA was pretty unique in terms of how pilots made their career. Many got their PPL, became a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), built hours, got more endorsements, certificate, moved to a regional airliner and finally to one of the big carriers flying the big jets. Next there is also a continuous influx of pilots from the airforce and navy. Very few countries I know of have such a huge variety of career paths to the big airplanes.

FAA research has shown that for General Aviation there is no correlation between number of hours flown and fatal accident rates. Statistically speaking a GA pilot with 50 hours has the same chance of being in a fatal accident as a GA pilot with 5.000 hours. That feels a bit counterintuitive, until you realise how GA pilots operate. GA includes a lot of single pilot, single engine planes such as fly myself.

It was one of the reasons that led to the introduction of the very successful FAA Wings Program. The program is all about a pilot's approach/attitude towards safety. Mostly classroom briefings, workshop. No actual flying really. Amazingly, pilots participating (all voluntarily) in the FAA Wings program have an almost 50% lower fatality rate then pilots that do not participate.

Other safety initiatives such as COPA (Cirrus Owners & Pilot Association) show similar results. Attitude towards safety of the pilot is hugely important. COPA shows similar results, COPA members have half the fatality rates as none-COPA members. So all back to what I mentioned earlier, attitude is very closely associated with culture.

For the larger Commercial aviation I have seen various reports that suggest there might be some correlation, but is also very much on how one wants to interpret the methods used and the results.

But to be honest, just check the accident investigations on any aviation site. You will be very hard pressed to find accidents where inexperience has been noted as a contributing factor. And you will find a good number of fatal accidents with very experienced crews at the controls.

Still, flying does remain by far the safest mode of transportation. Also in India I would imagine.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 28th July 2017 at 17:02.
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Old 29th July 2017, 07:41   #48
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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I
I don't think so, A319-A320 all have after take off/climb check lists, it is extremely important with things like Landing gear - up, Flaps-retracted, packs (air conditioning)- on.
Various people on PRuNe think differently: http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...oisy-here.html

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Old 29th July 2017, 11:51   #49
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

A few points from my end. Airbus 320 family operates on a robust system of challenge/response checklists and very few memory items to trap errors at the bud. The after takeoff/climb checklists catches 3 things namely if your gear is up, flaps are retracted and your packs (for ac and pressurisation) are on. So not taking the gear up means 2 things. Either the crew was too lax in not even performing basic checklists or there was a problem in gear retraction. If there was a technical problem which left the gear down any right minded pilot will declare an emergency, hold around the departure airport (kolkatta), try and troubleshoot, keep an eye on fuel burn and then decide to land back in kolkatta, maybe an overweight landing even.
Not realising your gear is extended is a fail in a basic cpl checkride forget a 320 sim. Imo this incident speaks of sheer arrogance, laxity and incompetence of the crew. Good that the dgca is prepared to haul them on coals for this.
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Old 29th July 2017, 12:48   #50
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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Imo this incident speaks of sheer arrogance, laxity and incompetence of the crew. Good that the dgca is prepared to haul them on coals for this.
I donít think we have seen any independent information on which we could draw that conclusion. It seems so far fetched that pilots would miss this, there could be other reasons as well. I donít think we know, so we should wait.

As a matter of interest, how does this work in India?

In US and Europe after a serious incident, the involved pilots would typically get de-rostered pending investigation, not sure if their license gets suspended too, but the effect is of course the same. Until the investigation has run its course, you are likely not to fly.

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Old 29th July 2017, 13:17   #51
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
I donít think we have seen any independent information on which we could draw that conclusion. It seems so far fetched that pilots would miss this, there could be other reasons as well. I donít think we know, so we should wait.

As a matter of interest, how does this work in India?

In US and Europe after a serious incident, the involved pilots would typically get de-rostered pending investigation, not sure if their license gets suspended too, but the effect is of course the same. Until the investigation has run its course, you are likely not to fly.

Jeroen
You don't need an independant investigation here. Why should a crew fly at fl240 all the way till mumbai, then realise they are low on fuel and land in nagpur? Did they verify nagpur was available? Fyi nagpur runway is shut for repairs on a particular day in a week during afternoon hours. What if nagpur was not available? If gear was stuck its sensible to return to your departure airport. Kolkatta has 2 runways both about 10000 feet long. Nagpur is 9000 feet single runway. In a emergency would you want to block a single runway or choose an airport with multiple longer runways? A320 qrh says 180% fuel burn with gear down. Did they refer to it? If they did they would know they couldnt fly to Mumbai. They were flying at 230kts. Gear down speed limitation is 280kts/.67 mach. Which is what 230kts will be at fl 240. So they were flying at mmo and the indicated speed may well be stuck close to the upper red barber pole. Didnt that raise their eyebrows? How can a clean aircraft have such low upper speed limit? Either case they should have suspected structural damage at the least.
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Old 29th July 2017, 14:54   #52
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

What I'm surprised about, is the crew not noticing / doing something about it?

They know how it feels when the landing gear has not retracted. The pilots may be insulated somewhat from the turbulence / noise but the crew should've long raised an alarm - plus it is almost routine for crew to notice the reduction in noise / vibration that happens when the landing gear is retracted.
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Old 29th July 2017, 15:26   #53
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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What I'm surprised about, is the crew not noticing / doing something about it?
Air India handles its catering operation on their own so how can you think Crew will be any different

meanwhile some discussions about the incident

http://avherald.com/h?article=4ac18ec7&opt=0
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Old 29th July 2017, 17:46   #54
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

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What I'm surprised about, is the crew not noticing / doing something about it?

They know how it feels when the landing gear has not retracted. The pilots may be insulated somewhat from the turbulence / noise but the crew should've long raised an alarm - plus it is almost routine for crew to notice the reduction in noise / vibration that happens when the landing gear is retracted.
How do we know they did not notice? I havent seen any independent sources on this one? All we know what appeared in general press.

Thatís a bit my point. Everybody is falling over one another pointing out how ridiculous this is, and how could they not have noticed etc. So I wonder, if I look at all the comments it makes one wonder. Is it really possible that pilots would screw up so badly for such a long period of flight time? Strangers things have happened in aviation, but not often.

I like to refrain from passing judgement on anybody, certainly in aviation, until such moment I see more verifiable and or reliable information coming together, ultimately a formal incident report.

Itís just not professional nor appropriate otherwise.

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Old 29th July 2017, 19:32   #55
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

What's next? Take off with doors open?

Hope the investigation finds out the truth. Being unaware that the landing gear is still down, is grossly stupid & unbelievable. I hope to hear a different perspective once investigations are completed. Maybe mechanical failure, including the manual override.

24,000 cruising altitude? But then they might have told ATC justifying that cruising altitude.


"Pilot error" is kind of scary in this case. It is same as not putting down the landing gear when they are about to touch down.
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Old 29th July 2017, 19:47   #56
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

YouTube has a lot of videos such as the following . They should give you an idea of how things work in the cockpit - pre/during/post take off.
.

.
There is no way a deviation from SOP such as the one in question can be attributed to anything but gross negligence .

However in the PC world we live in expecting the regulator aka DGCA to ignore the 'gender' complication is a stretch as this violates the tenets of 'social justice'.

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Old 29th July 2017, 20:21   #57
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

I agree with Jeroen The official reports of some recent incidents involving Air India show that often there are multiple factors involved.

So it is premature to start criticising the pilots alone at this juncture.

Hopefully the official report will be out within two years.
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Old 29th July 2017, 20:34   #58
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Hope the investigation finds out the truth. Being unaware that the landing gear is still down, is grossly stupid & unbelievable.



24,000 cruising altitude? But then they might have told ATC justifying that cruising altitude.



.

Again, what is the bases on what we assume they were not aware. An article in the press? Im not familiar with Indian Airspace, but in the USA ATC will give you whatever altitude you ask for, unless there are safety concerns. If unusual they might ask if you are asking for a low cruising altitude due to operational reasons. But they don't have to. .

But nothing cruises at FL240 without ATC approval, at least not in the USA. Anything above 18000ft MSL is class A, IFR mandatory, nothing happens there without ATC approval. What's the equivalent in India?

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Old 2nd August 2017, 21:32   #59
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Default Re: Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots clueless!

Pilots are human beings and errors will occur.

The design of the cockpit and the training of the Pilots is planned in a manner to ensure that errors are minimised, and if they do occur, the mistake is spotted and stopped from becoming the first link of a chain of errors which will lead to an accident.

Normally, as soon as the aircraft leaves the ground, the Pilot monitoring calls out Positive rate (of climb) which is the cue for the Pilot flying to command retraction of the wheels. The pilot monitoring is waiting for this command and his hand is near the wheel retraction lever.

If this was missed out (either the cue or the command) it is the designated duty of the Pilot monitoring to remind the Pilot about this missed mandatory standard call out.

If this second action is missed out as well, the speeds and the rate of climb will be abnormal and the difference is very significant and very unlikely to be missed out. Also, three steady Green Lights would be on in front of the Pilot in the right seat. Normally, on retraction of the wheels, these lights change to red and subsequently extinguish when the wheels are locked up.

In this case this system of procedures and monitoring has broken down.

There are numerous other cues which should have given enough hints about what was obviously wrong. But when there is confusion, the human mind can not perform the simplest tasks.

In the Airbus checklist there is a system of doing some checklists in two parts - the preliminary part which can be done earlier and second part which is done later. This is a potential weakness where if Part 1 is not done, this gets overlooked and subsequently only the second part is done.

To guard against incidents like this, the manner in which pilots' duties are shared and a system of monitoring procedures and actions is standardised and rigidly followed for each flight. The system is strong enough that it permits even pilots who are flying together for the first time can perform complex tasks involving high workload and demanding in stress situations including adverse weather alongwith technical system failures.

The information that both pilots were women has nothing to do with why this happened.

The worrying fact is that this happened in good weather without any equipment failure.

We should wait for the investigation to be completed so that all facts and the sequence of events can be known.
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Old 4th August 2017, 02:01   #60
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Default Air India plane flies from Kolkata to Nagpur with landing gear down, Pilots c...

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The worrying fact is that this happened in good weather without any equipment failure.



What happened, how do you know this is what happened, what are your sources? Check out the real pilots forums and you will see there are possible valid scenario's that could explain all of this.

For some reason everybody and their uncle want to point out how unbelievable Dum this crew was. Well, if it is that dum, maybe it happened in a very different way.

No more speculation, lets just wait for more data, preferably an independent report.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 4th August 2017 at 02:04.
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