mangalore today

After Mangalore plane crash, co-pilots are empowered

Mangalore Today News Network

Mumbai, September 11:  Cockpit conversations between the pilots of the doomed Air India Express Airliner which crashed in Mangalore and claimed lives of 158 people have established what clearly seems to be a case of pilot error.

Mangalore plane crash

The voice recording shows that the commander did not heed his co-pilot’s warning to go around. That mistake proved costly, and it’s prompted the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to once again issue a circular empowering the co-pilot to take over the aircraft in the interest of passenger safety if the captain does not react after two warnings.

But did the captain’s hesitation to go around, rather than land, stem from a strict policy of AI express? As per policy, if a pilot decides to go round, the matter is treated as seriously (a violation) and reported right up to the top regulator, the DGCA.

This policy, which came into effect in April this year and was in place when the crash occurred, has now been withdrawn.

Rest rules for pilots in India, which have not changed since 1992, are also being questioned. The DGCA now says a new set of rules will be in place.

Captain Glusice is said to have been sleeping in the cockpit of the plane that crashed. While resting in the cockpit is a grey area, it is widely practised in India. Airlines like Etihad and Emirates allow for controlled rest in the cockpit.

"The boom in the aviation industry in India has also meant that foreign pilots are being widely hired to meet the demands. The ability of these pilots to handle flights in critical air-fields is being debated. The Mangalore table-top runway has special requirement in terms of crew training and traffic management," said Kanu Gohain, former Deputy General of the DGCA.

India has a good track record when it comes to aviation safety. Before Manglore, the last big crash was ten year ago but in our hurry to go full steam, aviation stakeholders in the country have to introspect. The question now is, have we compromised on safety by cutting corner?