Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Air India

This is the summary of a treacherous dive event that occurred on flight IX-212, which is simply unbelievable:
The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report.
Sounds like something out of Airplane! (RIP Leslie Nielson, btw). Does that inspire any confidence in Air India Express? How about this:
The aviation agency report concluded that the 25-year-old co-pilot had not been trained in the specific scenario the jet encountered and “probably had no clue to tackle this kind of emergency.”
In other words they freely admit that a first officer had 'no clue' on how to get an aircraft out of a dive on an airplane he was technically certified to fly. Is that a joke or does it need a Wikileak? At one point the first officer was evidently pushing down on the yoke while the pilot came back from his pee break (after having to negotiate the locked cockpit door) and started pulling up. Imagine that scene.

Actually it sounds somewhat like Egypt Air 990 that went down into the Atlantic shortly after leaving JFK airport on Halloween day 1999. The captain had left the cockpit to visit the lavatory when the airplane suddenly pitched down. From the NTSB report:
There was no apparent reason for the relief first officer's nose-down elevator inputs.

The relief first officer's calm repetition of the phrase "I rely on God," beginning about 74 seconds before the airplane's dive began and continuing until just after the captain returned to the cockpit (about 14 seconds into the dive), without any call for help or other audible reaction of surprise or alarm from the relief first officer after the sudden dive is not consistent with the reaction that would be expected from a pilot who is encountering an unexpected or uncommanded flight condition.
They have not released their names or the voice recordings. Ironically this event occurred just a few days after the horrific crash in Mangalore. The Indian transport ministry also recently released the probable cause of that one, which allegedly involved a sleepy pilot:
His snoring, at times, was so loud it was picked up by the in-flight recorders.
Wow, let's assume nothing sinister happened they aren't telling us (both flights originated in Dubai, as did UPS flight 6 and one of the package bombs), why is this airline still flying?

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