Saturday, September 01, 2018

Rahul flight scare: Incident was 'survivable', says probe

New Delhi: On a day when Congress president and "Shiv bhakt" Rahul Gandhi left for Kailash Mansarovar+ pilgrimage, aviation authorities released the probe report of an aircraft scare which had prompted him to unertake the 'yatra'.

The Congress scion was flying from Delhi to Hubli, Karnataka, on April 26 in a Falcon 2000 luxury business jet. A flight computer snag when the aircraft was cruising at 41,000 feet led to the auto pilot tripping. But an inadvertent delay of about 15 seconds by the pilots in taking over manual control of the plane saw it banking sharply to right and having a free fall of about 730 feet. Rahul Gandhi had said the incident made him think, "gadi gayi (it's all over). I have to go to Kailash Mansarovar+ ."

An expert panel set up by the aviation ministry to probe this incident released its report on Friday evening, stating that "the incident was survivable." The 18-year-old aircraft (VT-AVH), belonging to Ligare Aviation, had taken off from Delhi at 9.23am with five passengers, including Rahul, two pilots, an aircraft engineer and a cabin crew member. At 11.02am, the aircraft, which was then cruising at 41,000 feet on auto pilot, suddenly developed a snag (in its yaw damper, a device that reduces the rolling and oscillations).
31/08/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India