Wednesday, August 23, 2017

‘We don’t have enough trained pilots ’

We spoke to Capt Mohan Ranganathan, the former instructor pilot of Boeing 737 who specialises in wet runway operations training, on navigating a passenger aircraft during monsoon. Excerpts:
We spoke to Capt Mohan Ranganathan, the former instructor pilot of Boeing 737 who specialises in wet runway operations training, on navigating a passenger aircraft during monsoon. Excerpts:

Is there any thrill in flying into a typical monsoonal rainfall, like taking a car out to enjoy rain?

For some of us who were trained well and knew how to handle monsoon , it was thrilling. Every flight is challenging as the conditions are never the same. The sense of satisfaction you have when you have successfully landed in very heavy rain is unmatched. Having landed in Madras (as Chennai was called then) flying a Hindu DC-3 during a cyclone or a Boeing 737 during a squall in Singapore, were some of my most thrilling moments in flying.

Is there a particular sector/flight path that a pilot should be careful about ?

Mangaluru, Kozhikode or airfields in the North-East are sectors that one needs to be very careful while flying in. Apart from bouts of very heavy rain, almost all the runways are sub-standard and do not conform to minimum ICAO Standards.


What are the typical manoeuvres for a pilot while flying during monsoon?

The most important manoeuvre on approach to landing is a go-around. Every approach during heavy rain should be done with a “think Go Around” commitment. Accidents happen mainly because of what is called “Press-on-it is.” Once a bit of the runway is sighted, pilots lose focus on whether they are in a stabilised condition for a safe landing or not. There are SOPs but what is very important is proper training.

What poses the greatest challenge to a pilot?

Heavy rain combined with high crosswinds pose the maximum danger during take-off and landing.

Lightning is not a threat to modern aircraft and they occur more near the surface (below 6,000 ft) rather than at high altitude.
22/08/17 Business Line

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