By Elton Gomes
An Air India flight carrying 370 passengers developed technical snags mid-air, however, due to the pilot’s decision to make an unscheduled landing, a disaster was averted.
Air India’s AI-101 flight from Delhi to New York was forced to make an unscheduled landing at New Jersey airport on September 11. Details of the conversation between the pilot and the air traffic controller have also been revealed.
As the pilots of the aircraft struggled to resolve the technical issues and were on the lookout for a place to land, one of the messages from an air traffic controller was, “I am gonna do some research and get back to you in a second”, according to a PTI report.
The conversation between the pilots and air traffic controller in the US indicated that several options were thought of before the plane was finally made to land at the New Jersey airport.
“Basically… we have got a single cross radio altimeter, we have got TCAS failure, no auto-land, windshear systems, auto-speed brake and the APU (Auxillary Power Unit) is unserviceable as well,” one of the pilots said during the conversation. The pilots were also heard saying that the plane was low on fuel, although Air India claimed that the aircraft had more than “adequate fuel reserves”, PTI reported.
What was the problem?
In a statement, Air India said that the plane’s radio altimeters failed which in turn rendered its TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) and ILS (Instrument Landing System) non-functional.
“The crew carefully weighed all options limited by terminal failure and adverse weather and diverted towards Newark,” the airline said.
“The cockpit crew comprising commanders Captain Rustom Palia and Captain Sushant Singh and co-pilots Captain R S Bhatti and Captain R S Vikas decided to initiate a Go-Around reporting an unstable approach. The decision to Go-Around and divert was commendable and done in the interest of flight safety,” Air India said in a statement.
Air India lauds pilots
Praising its pilots’ ‘professional handling’ of the incident, Air India today said that such a feat ‘speaks volumes about the national carrier’s enviable safety record.’
“The cockpit crew of the Air India Boeing 777-300 aircraft operating flight AI-101 of September 11, 2018, from Delhi (India) to New York successfully made a non-scheduled landing at New Jersey Airport braving adverse weather conditions and unexpected technical issues, and proving once again the class, expertise and experience of Air India’s pilots to face any such eventuality and come out in flying colours,” the national carrier said, as per a report in the Economic Times.
Zero deaths recorded during air travel in 2017
The year 2017 was the safest year on record in commercial aviation history, and not even a single death was recorded in commercial passenger jets.
Airlines recorded zero accident deaths in commercial passenger jets last year, as per a Dutch consulting firm and an aviation safety group that tracks crashes. The year 2017 is now being termed the safest year on record for commercial air travel.
The Aviation Safety Network reported that there were no deaths in commercial passenger jets in 2017. However, 10 fatal airliner accidents claimed the lives of 44 people on board and 35 persons on the ground.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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