Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Was IAF aircraft AN-32 too old to fly?

Chennai: What went wrong with the AN-32 that made the pilot not even be able to communicate with the ATC and just disappear? Experts feel that structural failure may be one of the major reasons behind the aircraft vanishing off the radar.

Speaking to 'News Today', retired Squadron Leader S Kannan said  though theoretically the flight was certified to fly, the 34-year-old aircraft will have its own fatigue which could have led to the disaster.

"It is learnt that there were some minor problems with the aircraft a few days ago and repair works were carried out. Though the engine was overhauled and certified 'ok' for flying, the question arises whether the structure could have withstood the high power of the engine," he said.

Kannan said he has flown that type of aircraft and even in normal conditions, the amount of vibration experienced in the cockpit is very high. "The engines used in the AN-32 are derated ones which can produce even more power. With the aircraft taking off at 8.30 am and going off the radar in 15 minutes could only mean that the aircraft crashed even before it reached the cruising height," he added.

The option of an engine failure can be ruled out as there are indicators which will tell the pilot if there is something wrong with the engine. Even if one engine fails, the pilot can convey it to the ATC and request an emergency landing and even in case of both engines failing simultaneously (which is a very rare occurrence) the pilots are trained to glide the aircraft for a safe landing.
26/07/16 M Balasubramani/News Today
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