Monday, May 29, 2017

Chopper crash: Experts focus on compliance of safety rules

THREE DAYS after the chopper of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis crashlanded at Nilanga in Latur district, safety experts have raised questions about the compliance of chopper flying and maintenance rules. Periodic maintenance of the chopper and the choice of helipad location for flight operations require regulation, they say.
In a similar incident in December 2016, an emergency landing was called by the pilot of a chopper handled by Aman Aviation company at Aarey colony which led to a crash and claimed three lives. Preliminary evidence had pointed to ‘clutch failure’ of the chopper for the mishap.
The rules, mentioned under the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), are enforced by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The guidelines, formed in 1997, describe specific rules for the periodic maintenance of choppers, seating capacity, pilots qualified to ride the chopper and other technical details. A portion of the guidelines was revised in January 2017 after the crash in Aarey which made maintenance rules for operators stricter.
Experts have quizzed whether guidelines regulated by the DGCA are being met. “The DGCA has a set of guidelines with respect to maintenance of the chopper and checks before take-off and after landing. Even while selecting the location of the helipad, guidelines must be followed. In investigative reports, the chopper’s confirmation to the rules set must be highlighted,” said safety expert Mangala Narsimhan.
In Nilanga, the chopper’s wheels got entangled into the electrical wires above the slums at Shivaji Mahavidyalaya school ground in Latur . It later fell on certain hutments in the area, destroying two-three makeshift slums.
29/05/17 Neha Kulkarni/The Indian Express