Fri, Sep 10, 2010
Data Recorders Indicate Aircraft On Wrong Flight Path
A six-member court of inquiry has been told pilot error is to
blame in the Air India accident that took the lives of 158 people
when it overshot the runway at India's hilltop airport. According
to the international news service AFP, the special court, set up in
New Delhi, has been told the data recorders on board the Boeing
737-800 "show the captain was on the wrong flight path and did not
correct course despite warnings from his co-pilot."
The last voice recording was of the co-pilot saying, "We don't
have any runway left."
The Mangalore Bajpe Airport, located in the state of Karnataka,
has been the subject of much discourse from pilots and industry
safety experts citing its hilltop location with landing approaches
shouldered by extreme, short gorges and drop offs of up to 300
In 2006, one of the runways was extended to accommodate larger
aircraft such as the Boeing 737, but there is still concern.
The May 21st accident has put the "tabletop" runway in the
international spotlight, according to a story by the BBC that
reports "anecdotal evidence from pilots who have operated to and
from the Managlore Airport suggest that a touchdown overshoot of
anything up to 500 meters (approximately 1,640 feet) is a recipe
for disaster given the lack of available safe-stopping
Authorities are conducting further investigations into whether
the runway configuration may have contributed to the accident.
Initial reports suggested the aircraft clipped the airport fence on
go-around. The accident took place about 0600 local time when the
plane attempted to land at Bajpe, approximately 19 miles outside of
Mangalore. The aircraft, arriving from Dubai, overshot the runway,
went over a cliff and caught fire. Both the pilot and co-pilot were
among those fatally injured. Eight people survived.
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