Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Engine shuts down, close shave for flyers

Kolkata: Flyers and crew members aboard a Kolkata-Delhi IndiGo Airlines flight had a close shave on Monday afternoon when the pilots had to shut down one of the two engines shortly after take-off and fly back to the airport.
The aircraft touched down safely, amidst tension in the air and a full-scale emergency roll-out on the ground, 19 minutes after it had taken off with 178 passengers and six crew members.
Nothing appeared amiss to air traffic controllers when flight 6E 616 lifted off at 2.38pm. But, in the cockpit, the captain felt extreme vibrations from the right engine while attempting the rapid ascent post take-off. He shut off the engine and called the ATC, fearing further damage.
"The plane had to turn back to Kolkata on one engine and make the landing. The pilot signalled 'pan-pan', an international standard urgency signal which is a shade lower than full-blown emergency," an airline official explained.
DGCA and engine manufacturers are probing the cause behind the shutdown. The ATC received the call at 2.41pm and immediately declared a full emergency. "All flights that were heading to Kolkata were put on hold and the route cleared for the plane running on one engine to fly unimpeded and land in the shortest possible time," an official from the airport's air traffic management wing said.
Some passengers aboard the flight sensed a loss of thrust when the right engine was shut down. An announcement over the public address system on the plane followed minutes later; it told fliers that the plane had encountered a technical issue and was returning to Kolkata. The atmosphere inside the cabin instantly turned tense.

At the airport, fire tenders and ambulances rushed towards the runway and took up position for the aircraft to return. "There are standard operating procedures for exigencies such as these and we were prepared to meet them," an airport official said.
Inside the cockpit, the pilots worked overtime to steer the plane straight, making constant adjustments as the differential thrust tended to veer the plane to the right. "All pilots are trained for such situations. But it is always a bit tense as one rarely encounters them in real life. However, an A320 aircraft is capable of flying on a single engine," a veteran pilot said.
30/01/18 Times of India