Saturday, June 03, 2017

Ground staff sucked into engine: Probe report says pilots must be in cockpit 20 minutes before departure

New Delhi: India's serious aircraft accident investigator has asked Air India to ensure that its crew (read pilots) board aircraft at least 20 minutes before departure time and that a minimum time gap of 30 minutes be kept between two flights — an incoming and departing one — if crew from the former have to be used to operate the departing flight. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) has also asked AI to ensure that in the absence of pilots in cockpit, another pilot of the same airline who is travelling as a passenger on that flight should not be allowed to get flight (pre-take off) clearances.
These recommendations have been made in the AAIB probe report of an accident in which an AI ground service engineer was sucked into the engine of an Airbus A-319 that was to operate from Mumbai to Hyderabad as AI 619 on December 16, 2015, at Mumbai Airport. The engineer had died on the spot.
The three-member AAIB probe panel of its senior officials Raje Bhatnagar, K Ramachandran and Amit Gupta, has also asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to immediately ask airlines to have proper time gap for crew rostering.
These recommendations have been in the recently-released report that found the exact cause for the unfortunate loss of life of the AI ground engineer. "On December 16, 2015, AI Airbus A-319 aircraft VT-SCQ was scheduled to operate flight AI-619 (Mumbai - Hyderabad). Both the cockpit crew were earlier scheduled to operate Mumbai- Rajkot-Mumbai on A-320 aircraft and Mumbai- Hyderabad -Mumbai on A-319 aircraft," it says.
02/06/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India