Sunday, May 28, 2017

ELT in CM Fadnavis’ copter failed

Mumbai: Two days after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ helicopter crash-landed in Latur, it has emerged that the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT) — a device that transmits emergency messages to nearby Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers and satellites — had failed to activate.
In the chief minister’s case, the helicopter was landed in a populous area and hence Mr Fadnavis received help immediately. Terming the episode a ‘serious technical lapse’, experts in the aviation sector have said the ELT manufacturers should be held accountable and India should approach the International Court of Justice over the matter.
Sources in the Maharashtra civil aviation department confirmed that the ELT did not activate during the CM’s helicopter mishap. They added that it’s mandatory to have an ELT in every helicopter, but it the device had been dysfunctional in many instances off late.
Also, sources at the Pune ATC said that they did not receive any signal from the CM’s helicopter. Also, the nearest Aurangabad ATC did not receive any signal.
Aviation expert Mandar Bharde, the MD of MAB Aviation, said possible biases held by ELT manufacturing companies towards India could be at play. “Why did the ELT not activate in so many instances? Our civil aviation ministry should proactively question the manufacturers about this serious technical fault and make them answerable. The ministry should raise the issue in an international court and prevent the purchase of instruments from such irresponsible manufacturers. Will these manufacturers dare sell such equipment to other countries?” Bharde asked.    
28/05/17 Shruti Ganapatye/Asian Age