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Pilot error caused Air India Express crash in Kerala last year, finds probe

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Pilot error caused Air India Express crash in Kerala last year, finds probe
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New Delhi: A report by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau released on Saturday has named an error by the pilot as the probable cause of the Air India plane crash at Kozhikode airport, which killed 21 people, including the two pilots, last year.

The Boeing 737 Air India Express flight with 190 people on board, overshot the runway and crashed into pieces on August 7, 2020.

The government report said that the probable cause of the accident was the non-adherence to standard operating procedures by the pilot flying, wherein, he continued an unstabilized approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, halfway down the runway, in spite of 'Go Around' call by [the] Pilot Monitoring.

The aircraft had already gone through two unsuccessful attempts due to bad weather. The third time, the plane touched down on the tabletop runway but overshot it and fell into the adjoining valley.

The report further added that the flying officer had "correctly identified that the approach for runway 10 was an 'unstabilized approach". And the Pilot in Command did not respond to the 'Go Around' command and the First Officer did not take over the control as per the company Standard Operating Procedures.

The probe report stated that the Pilot in Command did not carry out adequate briefing for landing with tailwinds in the rain and poor visibility before approaching runway 10.

The investigation revealed that the crew was experienced and had often operated in Indian monsoon conditions. The crew was aware of the weather Standard Operating Procedures of Kozhikode but the Pilot in Command took a decision not to divert after the missed approach on runway 28. The report added that there were alternate airfields available in close proximity and enough fuel was on board.

The First Officer did not give any input regarding SOP violation which indicates a steep cockpit authority gradient resulting in poor Crew Resource Management, said the report.

The 257-page report also mentioned the Pilot Monitoring to take over control and execute a 'Go Around'. "TThe pilot should have aborted the planned landing and make another approach to land at the same airfield or a diversionary one," added the report. The pilot should have aborted the planned landing and make another approach to land at the same airfield or a diversionary one.

"The mandatory calculation of landing distances was omitted. Alternate airfields most suited for 'diversions' in case of second missed approach under the prevailing weather conditions and unserviceable windshield wipers were not covered during the briefing," said the report.

The probe has also exposed the faulty HR policy of Air India Express Limited (AIXL). The actions and decisions of the PIC were steered by a misplaced motivation to land back at Kozhikode to operate the next day morning flight AXB 1373. A sufficient number of Captains were not available at Kozhikode. "There was only 01 Captain against 26 First Officers on the posted strength at Kozhikode".

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TAGS:Pilot error Air India Express crash Kerala 
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