Indore plane skid due to pilot error: DGCA

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has termed the Indore incident in which a Jet Airways ATR plane skidded off the runway as an accident caused by a mix of pilot error and degraded runway.

Meanwhile, in the background of the Sao Paulo crash, the DGCA has drawn attention to its circular for monsoon operations, issued to all operators and airports. It recommends that especially in the monsoon, if pilots feels that the speed, height or angle of descent is not correct due to factors like heavy rains or strong winds, they should abort landing, go around and approach again correctly.

The reports placed before the DGCA indicate that the aircraft touched down just short of the runway's mid-point, leaving insufficient length on a runway that had already been degraded to some extent because of heavy rains. The ATR bounced a few times before skidding off the runway and five passengers out of 49 were injured. Jet Airways said it would comment only after it saw the report.

DGCA chief K Gohain emphasised that it is usually deviation from prescribed procedures that leads to problems. Pointing out that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has confirmed that India follows all its safety requirements, he urged operators to carefully follow the monsoon circular, which lists out all the steps that different authorities in the aviation industry are advised to take.

Three points that merit special attention are:

Birds: Waterlogging brings insects to the surface, which attracts birds. Airports must regularly mow grass, spray insecticides, deploy bird shooters and ensure that no garbage is strewn around in the open around the airport, to prevent bird hits.

ATC and facilities: Runway and apron markings must be very clear. Runway surface conditions have to be monitored constantly, and pilots must be correctly informed about ground conditions.

Airlines: No aircraft should be allowed to fly without anti-skid systems, wipers, weather radar and flaps in prefect working condition. Pilots 'should not hesitate to go around in case of unstabilised approach or to hold for weather to improve'.