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Air India Pilot Didn’t Listen to Female Co-pilot 30 Years Younger Than Him. Plane Ended up in a Drain

The September 2, 2017 incident left three passengers with injuries and serious damage to the aircraft, with the front landing gear collapsing completely.

News18.com

Updated:May 10, 2019, 9:47 AM IST
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Air India Pilot Didn’t Listen to Female Co-pilot 30 Years Younger Than Him. Plane Ended up in a Drain
File photo of air india express. Image: Reuters

New Delhi: Over 18 months ago, an Air India Express flight IX 452 from Abu Dhabi to Kochi with 102 passengers on board ended up in an open drain after making a landing in heavy rains.

At the time, the poor weather was blamed for the accident, but an investigation has now revealed one of the reasons was also that the senior male pilot, who was 30 years older to his female co-pilot, refused to take her suggestions or warnings at the time of landing, Hindustan Times reported.

The September 2, 2017 incident left three passengers with injuries and serious damage to the aircraft, with the front landing gear collapsing completely.

In order to avoid such incidents in the future, the aviation authorities have advised Air India Express to avoid pairing pilots with wide age gaps together.

One of the probable causes for the accident, according to a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), was the poor judgement of the pilot-in-command.

“There is not just one reason behind an accident. Heavy rain and reduced visibility were contributory factors,” he was quoted as saying by HT.

The report said that the co-pilot informed her senior that she was unable to see the runway markings and asked him to go extremely slow. She further advised that a “follow-me” vehicle, which is used to guide aircraft in cases of low visibility, be arranged for. However, there was no response from the pilot-in-charge.

In an unprecedented turn of events, the aircraft took a 90m early turn before the taxiway and entered into open rain water drain.

“PIC applied throttle three times for aircraft to come out of the drain, but aircraft stuck in the drain. Co-pilot requested PIC not to apply throttle,” HT quoted the DGCA report as saying.

The DGCA also highlighted that besides an age gap of 30 years, there was also a difference of 13,000 hours in the flight experience between the two pilots.

There was a complete lack of coordination from the PIC’s side, who, the report stated, was tested alcohol positive twice and his licence was suspended by the DGCA for 3 months.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has now recommended that Air India Express issue a circular related to crew coordination.

Experts suggest that crew management training sessions undertaken by airlines include how to tackle problems that may arise from a large age difference or experience.

An Air India Express spokesperson told HT that the recommendations of the report will be implemented. “Out of the 10 safety recommendations, two relate to Air India Express and these shall be duly implemented,” said PG Prageesh, chief of corporate communications, Air India Express.​

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| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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