Fri, May 06, 2005
...And The Boss Was In The Back
It's bad enough when the windscreen on your Airbus cracks in the
middle of a violent thunderstorm. It's worse when the president of
the airline is riding in the back.
That was the situation aboard Air India Flight 273 as it
departed Calcutta Thursday. Captain M. Lamba took off as a strong
thunderstorm approached the airport. The aircraft flew into the
storm and was severely battered by hail -- some of which cracked
“The wind screen has cracked… repeat... the wind
screen has cracked, I want to make a priority landing back to
airport,” he radioed the tower.
But both airport radars were on the
blink and visibility was down to virtually zero. So, with the
windscreen perilously cracked, Lamba had to circle the airport for
more than an hour.
And if that wasn't pressure enough, one of his passengers was
Air India Chairman V. Thulasidas.
Without radar to guide him back to the airport, Capt. Lamba had
to find the ILS on his own, then follow it down through the storm
to the runway. He did just that, according to the India Telegraph
newspaper. The landing was reported as "smooth."
“The valiant efforts of the pilot and the ground staff,
who have shown that navigational aids and communication is more
important in flight safety than radar, saved the day,” a
senior air safety official told the Telegraph.
As for Chairman Thulasidas... he told reporters he didn't know
anything was wrong until he was told about the incident on the
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