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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Plane hits compound - flies for 3 hours ~ another was about to land where 4 were waiting !


A few decades ago, one could see scores of people waiting near the compound wall at Meenambakkam, excited to see aeroplane taking off and landing .. no longer these days, as there is so much of air traffic in all major airports.

By any standard, this is unimaginable, knowing this to be underbelly of aircraft that flew with passengers.  According to officials, a car passenger, who passed by road on way to Thanjavur reportedly  was injured as a piece of debris of the wall, which was damaged in the incident, hit her. The passenger has been identified as Manimala of Tiruvarur district. A piece of fence mesh was seen trapped near the tyre of the plane and its bottom was found slashed in the impact, officials said.

It was an air accident - the Dubai-bound Air India Express plane was flying at a speed of 250 km and possibly overloaded when its tyre hit an equipment used to guide a pilot to land a flight and then brushed the compound wall during take-off at the International Airport here early on 12.10.2018, officials said.  This is not a new airport –  the one at Trichy was established by the British during World War II and was primarily used by the British Airforce during the world wars. Warplanes were brought to the airport and taken to a workshop in Ponmalai, 2 km away for repair and maintenance.  The first known history of flight landing at the airport dates back to 1936 when the first airmail for Colombo from India was carried by the TATA's "Goodwill Flight", piloted by H.D. Barucha on 23 December 1936, which took off from Bombay for Colombo after stopping at Hyderabad, Madras and Trichinopoly.

On Friday, it was reported that a Dubai-bound Air India Express flight with 133 people on-board brushed against a wall at the airport – fortunately all  passengers were safe. The plane lost contact with air traffic control officials and landed in Mumbai after around four hours, they said.  The  Dubai-bound Air India plane flew for three hours with extensive damage to its body.  The  pilots, apparently unaware of the damage to the Boeing 737 aircraft, reported that "all systems were functioning normally", but the flight was diverted to Mumbai anyway as precaution. It turned out to be a "very, very close shave" for with 136 passengers and crew members. It was only when the plane landed in Mumbai early morning that it was found that its fuselage or body was practically "shredded". The plane could even be a write-off. "The pilot in command reportedly has a flying experience on the B 737 aircraft of 3600 hours, including about 500 hours as commander.

Miles away, a near miss involving an Air Canada plane which almost landed on a crowded taxiway instead of a runway at San Francisco airport last year could have been the 'worst aviation accident in history,' according to an official report. The Air Canada Airbus A320 carrying 140 people was cleared to land on Runway 28-Right at San Francisco International Airport shortly before midnight on July 7, 2017. But inadvertently, the pilot lined up for Taxiway C, where four planes were waiting to take off. 'Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history,' said Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board while announcing the agency's report issued Friday.

'The incident airplane descended to an altitude of 100 ft (30 meters) above ground level and overflew the first airplane on the taxiway,' the report said. 'The incident flight crew initiated a go-around, and the airplane reached a minimum altitude of about 60 ft and overflew the second airplane on the taxiway before starting to climb,' it added, noting none of the five flight crewmembers or 135 passengers aboard the Air Canada plane were injured.   According to reports, over  1,000 people were at imminent risk of serious injury or death.

Other contributing factors were 'the flight crew's failure to tune the instrument landing system frequency for backup lateral guidance, expectation bias, fatigue due to circadian disruption and length of continued wakefulness, and breakdowns in crew resource management.'  Just moments after receiving permission to land on the designated runway, the Air Canada pilot returned to the radio sensing that something was amiss. 'Uh, Tower, I just want to confirm - this is Air Canada 759 - we see some lights on the runway there, across the runway, can you confirm we're clear to land?' The tower responded: 'Air Canada 759 confirmed clear to land Runway 28-Right. There is no one on 28-Right but you.' An unidentified man's voice then broke in - presumably a pilot in one of the aircraft waiting to take off. 'Where's this guy going? He's on the taxiway,' he said. Air traffic control immediately told the Air Canada pilot not to land. The pilot of a United Airlines plane on the ground told the tower meanwhile that 'Air Canada flew directly over us.'

Scary to say the least !

With regards- S. Sampathkumar
14th Oct 2018.

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