Saturday, July 29, 2017

After close shave, DGCA told to tackle issue of pilot fatigue

New Delhi: India's Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to develop a fatigue risk management policy and ask airlines to create a crew fatigue-reporting mechanism to cut down possibility of accidents being caused due to this factor.
The board made this recommendation in its probe report of an incident where fatigued pilots landed an aircraft without air traffic control (ATC) clearance — despite being asked to go around — on a runway that was being inspected by personnel on two jeeps.
This incident had occurred on April 12, 2013, in Mumbai. Both the jeeps exited the runway just in time and an Air India Airbus A-319 landed on it.
The AAIB report says that the ATC tower "made several go around calls to the (AI) aircraft but there was no reply. Soon after, the aircraft landed safely on the runway."
The AI plane was flying in from Abu Dhabi with 81 passengers on board.
"After landing, controller asked the crew the reason for landing without clearance, to which the crew explained the situation as of communication failure... both the crew members have expressed and maintained throughout the investigation that they were fatigued... crew has further quoted fatigue as one of the reason for whatever omissions (established) have occurred during the critical phase of flight," says the report.
The pilots had taken off from Mumbai at midnight; landed in Abu Dhabi at 3:20am; taken off from Abu Dhabi at 4:05am and landed in Mumbai at 7:15am (all times in IST). They had operated in the "window of circadian low" when the urge to sleep is at its peak.
29/07/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India