Saturday, October 20, 2018

Kolkata: Near-miss over sky, 2 ATC officials benched

Kolkata: Two passenger flights with 350 people on board came close to a mid-air collision over the city on October 15 morning before the planes pulled apart after being alerted by the on-board collision warning system. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident and two Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials—a radar controller and a procedure controller—have been benched.
According to officials at Kolkata airport, an IndiGo flight that had taken off for Bagdogra was asked by the ATC to climb to 29,000 ft. Meanwhile, an AirAsia India flight, arriving from Bagdogra, was asked to descend to the same level. Unaware that they were on a collision course, the two planes hurtled towards each other, breaching the minimum separation. The on-board traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) got triggered with barely 200 ft lateral distance between the two aircraft.
The TCAS initiates a manoeuvre by asking one aircraft to climb and the other to descend to ensure they don’t collide. Computers on board the aircraft take over control from the pilots at this time.
An official said: “Planes have to either have a vertical separation of 1,000 ft or lateral separation of 5-10 nautical miles (9-18 km). In this instance, the lateral separation was almost non-existence. At the speed the planes fly, a 200 ft distance can disappear in a fraction of a second. It was a major breach in flight safety.”
20/10/18 Times of India