Military Flight Safety

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Postby Jagan » 19 Jan 2006 10:39

I have no idea on the Mil Crash in J and K. But the press release was given at that time about it. It might have been a repairable case for all we know.

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Postby Jagan » 19 Jan 2006 10:43

Ok heres a report that suggested it was a serious accident

Chopper crash: 14 Armymen injured



It was a close call for 18 Army and IAF personnel this morning when the Mi-17 helicopter they were travelling in hit a tree and crashed in Poonch district. At least 14 Army personnel were injured, five of them seriously.

The soldiers jumped out from a height of 30 ft after the pilot, Gp Capt R Shankar, station commander of the Jammu IAF station, sounded an evacuation alert just before landing at the Dera Wali Gali helipad north of Rajouri.

The chopper, which took off on a routine sortie with three IAF members and 15 Army personnel, caught fire after its 22-metre main rotor hit a tree about 40 feet above the ground. The helicopter crashed around 9.25 am and rolled 200 feet down a hill.

All the injured, including those with minor fractures due to the fall, are being treated at the military hospital in Potha. The co-pilot, Wg Cdr S. Sinha, escaped without injuries.

Both the Army and the IAF have ruled out sabotage and the IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the incident. The forces were in agreement that it was the timely evacuation call by the pilot that had averted a major tragedy.

A chopper, under GOC Romeo Force Maj Gen G.D. Bakshi was also parked near the helipad, though an IAF spokesperson said there was no damage to civil property.

The Russian Mi-17s were purchased under two orders in 1986 and 2000, the latter with improved engines and avionics. The close air support utility choppers were procured to replace the Mi-8s in a phased manner.


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Postby A Sharma » 19 Jan 2006 20:57

Advanced Light Helicopters airborne again: HAL

It, however, clarified that blades of a particular batch had some snags, but the problem was not (not) related to any design deficiency and these were "duly addressed".

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Postby JaiS » 20 Jan 2006 14:53

'MiG-21 crashed after rocket went off in pod’


NEW DELHI, JANUARY 19: The MiG-21 fighter that crashed two days ago in Jamnagar had nothing to do with the aircraft itself. It now emerges that pilot Sqn Ldr J P S Bains ejected from the fighter after one of its 55mm rockets failed to fire and detonated in its pod, damaging the aircraft and forcing the bail out.

Details of the primary investigations into the crash by a team headed by Grp Capt Subramaniam of the Bareilly Air Force station prove that the crash did not took place due to a technical fault as was initially suspected, but a problem with the external rocket stores carried in the fighter’s UB-32 launcher pods.


An officer at the Air Force HQ reiterated that crashes with MiG-21s were mainly due to external factors, such as faulty armaments and bird hits.

‘‘At the first instance, we can say that the aircraft itself was not responsible for the accident,’’ he told The Indian Express. The IAF’s official stand, however, is that the court of inquiry is still in progress and that it would be premature to comment.


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Postby JCage » 22 Jan 2006 13:49

arun wrote:0.5 crashes per 10,000 hours combined with 10 crashes gives a total of 200,000 flying hours for 2005.

Going by data gathered by Rupak, that is a massive reduction in annual flying hours.

Back in 1997/98 it was 306,190 hours. That is a long way from 200,000 hours.


I think there is a mixup between total flying hours and fighter hours.
There are contradictory reports as well- for eg this report notes that the IAF flew a whopping 4000 hours for the J&K rescue effort, which seems impractical - perhaps the ACM meant the J&K efforts boosted total hours to 4000. If the J&K effort itself took up 4000 hours- then its really eye popping.

Cite for 4000 Hours in IAF J&K ops.

http://tinyurl.com/8byf8
Last edited by JCage on 23 Jan 2006 09:00, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby JCage » 23 Jan 2006 08:51

Here we go, from Farce Dec 2005

The IAF flew sorties for a total of 1,960 hours to deliver 3,500 tonnes of relief material in all the relief operations carried out by it last year.
Last edited by JCage on 24 Jan 2006 01:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Jagan » 23 Jan 2006 09:23

Heres the gen on the 2004 crash of the Cheetah - Gung Ho Pilot

On 30 Dec 04 Cheetah helicopter call sign 331 took off for a bird recce sortie at 0650h. They took telephonic met briefing before the sortie. The weather was fair. After about five minutes flying, the captain took over controls and carried out extreme low level flying over the Teesta riverbed. Thereafter they climbed up and gave R/T call. After about 3 min the captain again took over controls and descended down to obstruction levels on intercepting the Rly line from Sukhna to Hashimara they turned along it in Easterly direction. He continued dangerously low flying at skid height about four to five feet above the Railway track barely missing obstructions along his path. The co-pilot cautioned him from time to time to fly little higher, but the captain paid no heed to him. The captain was in elated mood and rebuffed the feeble attempts of co pilot to take over controls. He was trying to show off his flying skills to the co pilot. After about four minutes of this kind of extreme low level flying the helicopter rotor disc hit the ladder of a signal pole 14 feet from the ground causing the helicopter to lose balance and crash on the Rly track at 0706h. Both the pilots sustained injuries and lost consciousness, they were rescued from the crash site by nearby civilians and army personnel. The intentional departure from briefed sortie profile was earlier carried out by the same crew combination on a similar bird recce sortie on 28 Dec 04, wherein the crew indulged in extreme low level flight while chasing females working in rice fields. :shock: This went unnoticed because neither the CVR was listened to by the supervisors nor the co pilot reported the serious breach in flying discipline. This otherwise avoidable accident occurred due to extreme breach in flying discipline by the aircrew.
Last edited by Jagan on 23 Jan 2006 10:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JCage » 23 Jan 2006 09:48

Jagan, can you address the flight hour issue- any inputs? Have MiG 21 hours been cut- though it doesnt appear so.

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Postby Jagan » 23 Jan 2006 10:35

arun wrote:0.5 crashes per 10,000 hours combined with 10 crashes gives a total of 200,000 flying hours for 2005.

Going by data gathered by Rupak, that is a massive reduction in annual flying hours.

Back in 1997/98 it was 306,190 hours. That is a long way from 200,000 hours.


Hi Arun, for97-98, roughly 35% of the 306k hours were fighter hours. that means about 100, 000 hours were flown by fighters.

The IAF fighter hours for 92-98 varied roughly in the 75-80000 range. goin by that standard 200,000 fighter hours is actually a quantum jump. I wonder how that has been achieved.

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Postby shiv » 23 Jan 2006 11:41

Jagan wrote:The IAF fighter hours for 92-98 varied roughly in the 75-80000 range. goin by that standard 200,000 fighter hours is actually a quantum jump. I wonder how that has been achieved.


IFR??

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Postby JCage » 23 Jan 2006 12:38

Plus the overseas deployments for Alaska, France, SAfrica etc?
The Su pilots also pull some 200 hrs/ year.

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Postby Arun_S » 23 Jan 2006 12:59

JaiS wrote:'MiG-21 crashed after rocket went off in pod’


NEW DELHI, JANUARY 19: The MiG-21 fighter that crashed two days ago in Jamnagar had nothing to do with the aircraft itself. It now emerges that pilot Sqn Ldr J P S Bains ejected from the fighter after one of its 55mm rockets failed to fire and detonated in its pod, damaging the aircraft and forcing the bail out.

Details of the primary investigations into the crash by a team headed by Grp Capt Subramaniam of the Bareilly Air Force station prove that the crash did not took place due to a technical fault as was initially suspected, but a problem with the external rocket stores carried in the fighter’s UB-32 launcher pods.


An officer at the Air Force HQ reiterated that crashes with MiG-21s were mainly due to external factors, such as faulty armaments and bird hits.

‘‘At the first instance, we can say that the aircraft itself was not responsible for the accident,’’ he told The Indian Express. The IAF’s official stand, however, is that the court of inquiry is still in progress and that it would be premature to comment.



So I was watching the video recording of the AF Day parade of 2004. One of the recipient of Vayu Sena Medal was the wife of the CO of the No:6 Sqn (Jaguars). And came to know that the CO died in an accident in the Thar desert Firing range, whereby the Retro bomb dropped by the pilot exploded prematurely when it was just few feet away from the wing. Clearly a case of poor quality control by Indian Ordnance Board. This is appallant and abhorrent criminal act by civilians who have no commitment to work ethics and don’t care a sh*t about a pilot losing life and losing aircraft worth 90 Crore!!

I see the same care a sh*t attitude by HAL technicians. Aircrafts returning from HAL overhaul at frightening frequency come back with additional defects that result in crash few days after return back from HAL.

At AF Station Leh, I personally had the misfortune of attending the “Second birthday” party in honor of 2 Cheetah pilots who survived crash in Siachen glacier in the morning, due to engine failure. That Cheetah helicoptor come back from HAL few days ago. Later the “Court of Inquiry” showed HAL maintence responsible for the crash. BTW IAF has the tradition of celebrating the second birth of Pilots who survived a crash, by hosting a Birthday party the same evening at the Officers Mess.

The AF Technical Officers generally have contempt and disdain for HAL maintenance. Thus anything coming from HAL is thoroughly double triple checked by the Unit Technical crew to catch HAL induced defects. It is a miracle how the Tech Officers and crew sweat to convert a defective aircraft from HAL back into a reliable & trusted flying machine.

In a more civilized and responsible society such criminal behavior will see the HAL personal and the HAL corporation held to account for criminal negligence in court of law, and punitive damage throw the company out of business.

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Postby JCage » 23 Jan 2006 13:17

Not to take the focus away from upgrading the maintenance of IAF a/c, but the issue of negligence and human error in maintenance is split between IAF crew and HAL.

http://164.100.24.208/ls/committeeR/PAC ... eport.html

4.2.2 The Committee were informed by the Ministry that during the period 1991-2000, 126 accidents i.e. 44 per cent were attributable to technical defects. Of these, 24 accidents were attributed to manufacturing/overhauling defects by HAL. The Sub-Committee (Defence) of PAC during their study tour in September 2000 visited HAL and discussed with them the relevant issues brought out in C&AG’s Report on the subject. The Ministry (Department of Defence Production & Supplies) had also furnished information to the Sub-Committee on the issues dealt with in the Audit Paragraph. In their information, the Department of DP&S offered the views of HAL on the technical accidents attributed to them by IAF, which reads as follows:

"This is not a statement of fact. All the aircraft in IAF inventory are not manufactured/overhauled by HAL and nearly 1/3rd of the aircraft are imported, which are either overhauled by IAF or sent to OEM. Further all TD accidents are not attributable to manufacturing/overhauling agencies like HAL. Technical Defect accidents are caused due to mal-function/failure of a component or a sub-system. Such a mal-function/failure could be due to inherent design inadequacy or induced due to manufacturing quality, maintenance lapses and operational violations. As TD accidents include material failures, design defect, manufacturing defect and human error (servicing), they have to be further categorised, as such, before apportioning the responsibility for TD accidents to the agencies like HAL, IAF, OEM, etc."

It was further stated that aircraft of non-HAL origin had more than 1/3rd share of TD accidents. Hence, according to them, most of the ‘Technical Defects’ accidents were not attributable to manufacturing/overhauling agencies. The users also had their contribution to TD accidents.

4.2.3 Giving an analysis of 82 TD accidents that occurred during 1991-97, the Department of DP&S inter-alia stated:

"These include, 5 accidents due to ‘TD+HE’, 24 accidents involving aircraft of Non-HAL origin and 10 accidents involving aircraft of HAL origin where failure of engine/equipment of Non-HAL origin (Engine like Viper, R-23, R-29 and slat motor body of Jaguar aircraft etc.). Excluding these there are 34 Cat-I TD accidents involving aircraft of HAL origin accounting for 18% of the total number of accidents. Out of these 34 accidents, only 3 are attributable to HAL which is 1.5% of the total accidents."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.2.4 In this context, the Committee desired to know the comparative status of accidents due to technical defects in respect of aircraft manufactured/assembled by HAL and those directly imported by the Government. The Committee were informed that out of 83 accidents of fighter aircraft caused due to technical defects during 1990-2000, 40 aircraft were of HAL origin and 43 were imported. Highlighting the performance of HAL origin aircraft in evidence, the Secretary, Department of Defence Production and Supplies inter-alia stated:

"The rate of accidents on aircraft manufactured and overhauled by HAL is lower than those wholly imported and maintained either by the manufacturer or elsewhere."

4.2.5 To substantiate the point that aircraft of HAL origin performed better compared to imported aircraft of similar type and class, the Department of DP&S furnished the following statistics about the rate of Category-I TD accident during 1991-2000 to the sub-Committee:

1.

"Rate of Cat-I TD accidents of MiG-27 (HAL built/overhauled) is less than 1/4th of the rate for MiG-23 (Imported/overhauled by IAF).
2.

Rate of Cat-I TD accidents of Jaguar (HAL built/overhauled) is less than ½ the rate for MiG-29 (Imported and overhauled by IAF)
3.

Rate of Cat-I TD accident of Kiran Jet Trainer (HAL designed and built/overhauled) is almost 1/4th the rate for Iskra trainer (Imported and overhauled by IAF).
4.

Rate of Cat-I TD accident of the basic piston engine trainer HPT-32 (HAL designed and built/overhauled) is much lower in the IAF than accident for basic trainer T3A – Fire Fly of US Airforce.


The overall document is rich in data and is certainly worth a look see.

During 1991-97, less than 50% accidents on MiG-21 variants could be attributed to TD. Most of these accidents were attributed to design inadequacies. Quality, maintenance and operational lapses had also contributed for few accidents. According to the Ministry major problem areas were identified and various steps were taken for improvement in MiG-21 variants. This is shown in Appendix. It is seen from Appendix that on the problem relating to Flame Tube Burning of R-25 engine caused due to design deficiency, a contract was signed with Russians for modification of design.



This is not to say that HAL cannot and shouldnot improve, but the same holds true for the IAF. Which is why the recent decline in MiG21 attrition being attributed to more care and technical measures is really welcome and deserves looking into.

And the user perception varies from crew to crew and HAL establishment; HAL Bangalore has a good rep from what I was able to gather with some crew, HAL Nasik and MiG 29 BRD crews had decent relationship, but the MiG 21 maintenance crew were dissatisfied with both HAL Nasik and lack of design data, which HAL blamed the Russians for. The Russians in turn blamed the IAF for relying upon EEuropean spares, which the BRD folk dismissed as BS.

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Postby shiv » 23 Jan 2006 17:11

Arun_S wrote:The AF Technical Officers generally have contempt and disdain for HAL maintenance.


When my cousin Wg Cdr Suresh was alive I had the unique experience of seeing the Vayu sena side from a retired MiG 21 pilot as well as the HAL Flight safety side.

I also recall a meeting (along with JCage) a fighter pilot who described Indian technology as "Khadi Gramodyog". The same pilot at the same meeting had shocked me and JCage by casually referring to Flight Accidents as "Oh - you can expect one a month"

Some Indians are held in great contempt by other Indians - sometimes for reasons that are not entirely fair. This was what Wg Cdr Suresh tried to show time and time again in trying to bring in a culture of understanding between user and supplier, rather that a culture of contempt and "thoo" disdain - which is how Indians react to what they do not like. It does no good for the IAF and HAL to show "thoo" disdain for each other (you have described only the IAF view) and liaisons between the two sides need to be of very high caliber, maturity and understanding of the other's view to avoid needless damage in a vitally important area.

It is one thing to curse in public - but a culture of teamwork involves a very high degree of sensitivity on both sides that you are dealing with humans and human problems. For that reason the language of dismissive contempt should be used with caution especially by those of us who have little direct involvement with either side other than friendship or personal relationships. Just my opinion.

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Postby JCage » 23 Jan 2006 18:57

Shivji,

Nice of you to remember Wing Cmdr Suresh and very well put;

I remember Wing Cmdr Suresh describing what all HAL did at the time to improve QA and deliver better service, plus all sorts of fixes which the original equipment manufacturer wasnt bothered about in the least, but I was surprised since I had never heard it reported. When I asked him why , he eloquently shrugged his shoulders, and noted that a single incident which brings bad press is oft remembered, and the rest is consigned to the rubbish bin. He was a goldmine of knowledge about all aspects relating to the IAF, both from the maintenance as well as the flight ops angle- a very very rare thing. He was with the Indian Aviation folks iirc and I requested him to write an article about his experiences in both the IAF and then HAL.

You might also remember the excellent gentleman from the Navy whom you had us meet, whom you know quite well, who played an instrumental role in setting up the Navy's WESO establishment which took the lead role in indigenization and how with tact, guile and often sheer cussedness got everyone to work together. He as you'd remember noted that his own boss was against the idea- "we need sailors not engineers", but the chief intervened and pushed the idea through.

A few people can indeed make a difference and how.

Incidentally, that same gentleman was narrating his experiences to Wingco K who remarked that the IAF was yet to do what the Navy did eons ago, and it was an excellent idea.

There is also a lot of service vs civilians issue which is unfortunately still extant today, partly of course because of the sheer chaos in civilian life vs the discipline that is part and parcel of military life. Unfortunately, that same impression is applied to all things civilian and then a backlash also occurs, and we have the (in)famous Army vs R&D fracas as referred to in Weapons of Peace over a UAV, where both sides react in anger, and both suffer at the end. Two decades later, they are working together- imagine the time, energy and money saved, if both sides had just swallowed institutional pride and worked together from day 1.

I often came across this while growing up in a city with a huge army cantonment. The two cultures are kept insulated and either side develops slightly parochial ideas. Army folk lovingly refer to the city people as bloody civilians. And city folk were equally bloody minded.

Incidentally, a family friend is in the IAF maint establishment and he has has both excoriated and praised both sides.

The feeling I get is of two large organizations dealing with each other, with all the attendant ups and downs. And two bureaucracies having to work things through.

One thing I have learnt though imho is that when listening to either sides personal accounts is that each side has a POV, and we can only try to see the actual situation in "grey"- its not black and white as either side makes it out to be. Since they too ultimately have to and do find a middle ground to resolve their problems.

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Postby arun » 23 Jan 2006 22:05

Jagan wrote:Hi Arun, for97-98, roughly 35% of the 306k hours were fighter hours. that means about 100, 000 hours were flown by fighters.

The IAF fighter hours for 92-98 varied roughly in the 75-80000 range. goin by that standard 200,000 fighter hours is actually a quantum jump. I wonder how that has been achieved.


Hi Jagan,

I doubt the 200,000 hours figure I arrived at represents “fighter hours”.

I make “fighter hours” as 100,000 hours going by these three comments of Air Marshal P S Ahluwalia (Link) :

"The accident rate of the MiG-21 has been brought down from a high of 2.89 (per 10,000 flying hours) to 0.6 or even lower presently - its lowest accident rate ever," …………

He pointed out that while in the last financial year, there had been three accidents involving the MiG-21 aircraft …………

Air Marshal Ahluwalia said one of the reasons was that MiG-21s comprise almost 50 per cent of IAF fighter aircraft, and correspondingly 50 per cent of the total flying hours of the force are accomplished on this aircraft only …………


Going by your figure of 100,000 fighter hours for 97-98 it comes as a great relief that “fighter hours” has not dropped but just remained static.

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Postby arun » 23 Jan 2006 22:19

JCage wrote:I think there is a mixup between total flying hours and fighter hours.


JCage,

I think not.

200,000 hours is more likely "total flying hours" rather than "fighter hours".

Please refer my immediately preceding post.

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Postby Jagan » 23 Jan 2006 23:55



0.5 crashes per 10,000 hours combined with 10 crashes gives a total of 200,000 flying hours for 2005.

Going by data gathered by Rupak, that is a massive reduction in annual flying hours.

Back in 1997/98 it was 306,190 hours. That is a long way from 200,000 hours.


Hi arun

I have misread your post about the 0.5 rate being only for fighters. Now I realise you meant it was for the whole air force. But I am not clear as to where did the 0.5 attrition rate figure come from ?

The Ten Crashes report by the news paper is definitely wrong now because going by the LS question hour figures there are atleast two or three chetak/cheetah crashes that are not in the newspapers list. Then there is that question of that Mi-17 at Rajauri which is not featured in the LSQH answers. is that a damaged case / not / nobody knows. To confuse matters further, the paper was clearly not taking the FY-2005-06 timeframe as the airforce does. It is taking the

But I agree that teh fighter hours would have remained in the vicinity of 100000 hours than near 200,000 hours. But wont agree that the total hours have come down to 200,000 when the avg hours in the 90s was closer to 270. With the Tsunami and the JK efforts, transport flying hours would not have come down.

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Postby cbelwal » 24 Jan 2006 01:29

Two days ago I sat in a cockpit of a Cirrus SR22. Apart from an all glass cockpit, leather seats and a dashboard that looks like a car it has this amazing flight recovery and safety system where the airplane deploys a parachute in case of a catastropic engine failure and lands the plane vertically. Truly amazing concept and i dont know of any commercial / military airplane has this. One of NASA's X planes uses this though.

Details:

http://www.cirrusdesign.com/aircraft/safety/

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Postby Raman » 24 Jan 2006 06:59

Many military planes use spin-recovery parachutes that are very similar to the ballistic parachute that you refer to. But they are not the same and these are mostly used during training or flight-testing --- I doubt that they are installed for regular operation. Ballistic chutes are very common (standard?) for ultra-lights.

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Postby cbelwal » 24 Jan 2006 21:43

Spin recovery is useful but not in situations of engine failure. Most spins are results of inadvertent stalls at both high and low speed and a chute can act like aux. rudder and help control it , but I doubt if they can hold the weight of a plane for a total recovery. The beauty about this CAPS system is that you can literally land yourself on top of a mountain ! I think we will soon be seeing such system in passenger airlines though to hold a 737 one would need something size of a football field.


Raman wrote:Many military planes use spin-recovery parachutes that are very similar to the ballistic parachute that you refer to. But they are not the same and these are mostly used during training or flight-testing --- I doubt that they are installed for regular operation. Ballistic chutes are very common (standard?) for ultra-lights.

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Postby JaiS » 25 Jan 2006 16:02

IFSCON to provide useful platform in flight safety and accident investigation

Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherji said that IFSCON would provide a useful platform for mutual interaction on current trends in flight safety and accident investigation.

Pranab Mukherjee appreciated the vision of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in pooling the thought process, techniques and concepts from around the world in the field of accident prevention.

Addressing the inaugural session of the first-ever International Flight Safety Conference (IFSCON-06) here, Mukherjee said, "The IAF was in a critical situation because of low fleet service abilities caused due to shortage of spares. We have consequently evolved a fast track procurement mechanism and deputed a task force to Russia and abroad for immediate procurement of spares. I have encouraged the IAF to decommission redundant and unreliable technology."

Pranab Mukherjee had constituted an expert committee in Dec 2004 to find out the root causes of aircraft accidents and to prepare a comprehensive action plan to reduces losses to a minimum.

With reference to the findings of the expert committee, Mukherji said, "Several factors need to be addressed through invigoration of the flight safety organization through enhanced interaction at all levels. These would include evolution of a comprehensive flight safety strategy, risk management through operational risk management techniques and safety audits."

Today's aviation environment is extremely dynamic. Technology is changing at a hitherto unimagined pace. The skies are getting more and more crowded and the environment is getting degraded. We are all faced with these challenges in our respective organization and are constantly evolving strategies to meet them," Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi said.

The first-ever International Flight Safety Conference (IFSCON-06) under the auspices of the Directorate of Flight Safety, Indian Air Force, began in New Delhi Tuesday. The theme of the conference is "Aviation Safety: A Universal Language."

The two-day IFSCON 06 is providing a valuable platform for mutual interaction to around 50 delegates from 15 countries and around 200 delegates from the 35 National Aviation Organization.

Participating countries are Australia, France, Russia, UK, US, Czech Republic, UAE, Oman and Myanmar.

Indian delegates include the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, BSF, DG Civil Aviation, HAL, Indian Airlines and the Airport Authority of India.

Main topics of discussion during the IFSCON will be "managing diverse technology spectrum in IAF, risk management, system safety approach, human factors and human error aircrew, accident
investigation, multi-crew cockpit resource management and flight safety operations quality assurance."

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Postby JaiS » 07 Feb 2006 13:40

Originally posted by Vick,

from DefenseNews.com

AIR MARSHAL PADAMJIT SINGH AHLUWALIA
Indian Air Force Director-General, Inspection and Safety

As the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) director-general for inspection and safety, Air Marshal Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia evaluates operational standards for 30 different types of aircraft and associated systems in the world’s fourth-largest air force.

That inventory includes the MiG-21 aircraft, which earned the nickname “flying coffin” in a decade when 78 accidents killed 38 pilots. The accident rate, which had touched a high of 2.25 per 10,000 flight hours during the last five years, has been reduced by 57 percent this year, Ahluwalia said.

Q. What are your accident-prevention goals?

A. We have set a target of 50 percent reduction of accidents in the next two years. All efforts are being made to ensure that commanders and supervisors are accountable for flight safety. We have initiated measures to develop the right attitudes, provide adequate training and manage technology. Our ultimate objective is a near-zero accident rate.

Q. How did the MiG-21 earn its deadly nickname?

A. The MiG-21 comprises 41 percent of the IAF’s fighter inventory and accounts for 50 percent of the fighter flying hours annually. It is logical that the number of accidents will be in proportion to the amount of flying done vis-à-vis the other fighters. In 2002-03, the aircraft was a subject of intense media attention due to a spate of accidents. The dubious nickname was a result of this and has stuck, despite a 57 percent reduction in the accident rate per 10,000 hours achieved this year when compared to the past five years’ average.

In fact, the accident rate of the MiG-21 is on a par with, if not better than, many other fighter aircraft. About a third of the MiG-21 fleet has been recently upgraded. It now boasts avionics and systems comparable to contemporary aircraft.

Q. What steps did the IAF take to reduce the MiG-21 accident rate?

A. This has resulted through clearly identifying the malfunctioning or unreliable system components and effecting design improvements in consultation with the original equipment manufacturers, indigenous aircraft manufacturing organizations, and quality assurance and certification agencies.

Quality control measures in terms of fuel handling, storage and transportation have been enhanced at all levels. There has been an improvement in the overall supervision and increased emphasis on safe handling of aircraft in critical regimes of its flight envelope. This has reduced the accidents attributed to incorrect piloting techniques. Being a single-engine fighter, the MiG-21 is vulnerable to bird strikes. A lot of effort has been put toward improving the flying environment within and around the airfields to curtail this menace.

Q. What are the challenges of safely operating different types of aircraft in varied environments?

A. The challenge of flight safety lies in effective management of the vast technology spectrum of our weapon platforms, ranging from the ’50s to the new millennium; and in optimum utilization of our diverse inventory of aircraft and equipment.

In high altitudes like the Siachen Glacier, where aircraft support troops at altitudes of over 20,000 feet, conditions limit human and aircraft performance and leave little or no margin for error. While high-altitude operations induce aircrew fatigue, snow-covered areas can cause blinding effects and spatial disorientation of the pilots. Operations in the coastal areas and islands pose challenges of disorientation over the sea, and corrosion and environmental degradation of aircraft and equipment. Dust in the Rajasthan desert and in polluted areas pose problems of visibility, disorientation, target acquisition and frequent system malfunctions.

These peculiar operating conditions tax both the man and machine. It requires continuous environmental adaptation by air and ground crew.

Q. Does the diversified inventory affect IAF’s ability to do that?

A. It is an important constraint. IAF operates 26 types of aircraft, both Russian- and Western-built, with technological vintages ranging from low-end Canberras, Avros and MiG-21s to the advanced Su-30 MKI aircraft. Maintenance, training, interoperability and interchangeability are problems. Spares management is difficult and expensive, as it is not financially prudent to hold large inventories of spares.

A crucial challenge is keeping pace with the proliferation of new glass cockpits, while managing and maintaining the earlier technologies. While state-of-the-art technology aircraft are safer and more efficient due to in-built redundancies, the older technology platforms require constant vigilance.

Q. How does the IAF reduce the risk of accidents in diverse conditions?

A. By rigorous training of air and ground crew, formulating standard and emergency operating procedures, and continually upgrading aircraft with modern avionics and navigational aids. To identify the hazards, reduce the risk to acceptable levels and manage the residual risk, we use several proven identification and control measures. For instance, IAF has created a comprehensive database of aircraft accidents, incidents and defects. This database is used to conduct meaningful trend analysis and identify failure patterns.

Another means of risk management is through accident/incident investigations, which are conducted to clearly identify the underlying causes.

Identification of vulnerable areas in operations, maintenance and support activities is undertaken by regular safety audits, surveys, reviews and analytical studies. The IAF undertakes preventive maintenance per stipulated schedules.

Q. What have been the main factors in IAF aircraft accidents?

A. An analysis of the accident database during the past decade shows that the two major causes are human error on the part of the aircrew and technical defects. The proportion due to human error is comparable to that experienced in other air forces. Nevertheless, considerable attention is being given to prevent future accidents.

The major cause for concern is the significant proportion of accidents due to technical defects. Trends of premature failures are being meticulously monitored to recognize the failure pattern through analysis studies and safety audits.

Q. How has the IAF reduced its overall aircraft accident rates?

A. The IAF’s flight safety strategy rests on four pillars: technology, capability, training and environment.

Technology implies the optimal utilization of available technology.Capability defines the building up of capacity in the IAF of man and machine. We build on inherent capability by placing the right person for the right job.

Training is mandatory to impart and progressively build required skills, knowledge and professional competence. The training pattern needs to keep pace with the technology. This is a challenge where the training syllabus needs continuous revision while maintaining adequate time for assimilation and study.

A safe and conducive environment involves optimal utilization of all elements of a program, and supports not only flight operations but also human resource, and builds the morale of the personnel.

Q. What is the result of this strategy?

A. It has paid tangible dividends in terms of reduced aircraft accident rates. Adopting proactive steps based on the strategy has reduced our accident rate due to human error by 50 percent and due to technical defect by 53 percent as compared to the past 10 years’ average. This all-round improvement has led to a significant drop in IAF’s overall aircraft accident rate to 0.42 during 2005-06, representing a 51 percent reduction compared to the past decade’s average. These positive trends are not due to a slice of luck, but to the IAF’s focus on identifying vulnerable areas and hazards in technology, capability, training and environment and systematically managing the risk involved.

Q. Does the IAF exchange safety information with other air forces?

A. Flight safety does not recognize geographic borders and nationalities. It would be prudent for all military aviation organizations throughout the world to prepare a common platform to share relevant information in critical areas of aviation safety. This could be through the Internet. IAF organized an international flight safety seminar in New Delhi Jan. 24-25 with 40 air forces and indigenous military and civil aviation organizations participating.

By Vivek Raghuvanshi in New Delhi.

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Postby Jagan » 07 Feb 2006 19:33

I have recently migrated the attrition pages on my website to PHP. Since there were quite a few updates in the lists, its worth taking a look at them. While the IAF records are updated with all sucessful ejections from Kiran / Hunter / HF24 / Jaguar etc. Its the PAF list that provides some interesting details - esp the F-6 and Mirage accidents. (The lists reflect only the sucessful ejections - not fatal crashes). Thanks to Mike Bennett of ejection-history.co.uk for providing the Martin baker list.

http://www.warbirdsofindia.com/Crashes/india.php

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Postby Vishy » 07 Feb 2006 21:48

Can you also please explain/define the initials used under Category (Loss)?

Thanks in Advance

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Postby Jagan » 08 Feb 2006 02:42

Vishy wrote:Can you also please explain/define the initials used under Category (Loss)?

Thanks in Advance


The 'Cat' column shows the type of ac.. F-fighters, T-Trainers, C-Cargo, HC-Helicopters, GA-GroundAttack. Subtypes are combination of them.. a MiG-21U would be FT, Mi-25 would be AHC (Attack HeliCopter) etc.

Remarks column has similar abbrev

Cr-Crash CrL-CrashLand wo-WriteOff dest-Destroyed Pt-Pilot BO- Baled out / Ejected TO-Take Off, Ldg-Landing etc

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Postby Vishy » 08 Feb 2006 02:51

Jagan wrote:
Vishy wrote:Can you also please explain/define the initials used under Category (Loss)?

Thanks in Advance


The 'Cat' column shows the type of ac.. F-fighters, T-Trainers, C-Cargo, HC-Helicopters, GA-GroundAttack. Subtypes are combination of them.. a MiG-21U would be FT, Mi-25 would be AHC (Attack HeliCopter) etc.

Remarks column has similar abbrev

Cr-Crash CrL-CrashLand wo-WriteOff dest-Destroyed Pt-Pilot BO- Baled out / Ejected TO-Take Off, Ldg-Landing etc


Thanks, Do you by any chance also have any information on whether the aircraft was totally written off or was salvaged and put back in the fleet?

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Postby Jagan » 08 Feb 2006 02:58

I would say 99% of the records are all Write-offs.. ie. never put back in the air. AFAIK, the only non-writeoffs that I personally know are the Mi-17 that pranged at Dharbanga an year or two back and the Dhruv from last year. Leaving apart these, I am sure most are writeoffs. If the 'Details' link is live, you can click it to read the reports - that would also give you an idea of the conditon of the ac if there is any doubt.

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Postby Ved » 19 Feb 2006 09:21

JaiS wrote:Originally posted by Vick,

from DefenseNews.com

AIR MARSHAL PADAMJIT SINGH AHLUWALIA
Indian Air Force Director-General, Inspection and Safety

........ That inventory includes the MiG-21 aircraft, which earned the nickname “flying coffin” ........


Just for the record, the original 'flying coffin' was the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, also known as the 'widow maker'. The ejection system, in particular, was notoriously unsuccessful.

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Postby Arun_S » 19 Feb 2006 11:38

THREE-ENGINES-OUT DITCHING
Aviation Week & Space Technology 01/09/2006
Geraldo W. Knippling

In the late 1950s, Brazil's Varig Airlines was competing successfully with Pan American on the Rio de Janeiro (RIO)-to-New York route--in spite of Varig's new Lockheed "Super-Constellation G" and its complicated, unreliable, turbo-compound engines.

We departed RIO on Aug. 16, 1957, bound for Belem, then Santo Domingo (it was called Ciudad Trujillo at the time) and, ultimately, New York City. Flight 850 droned over the Brazilian jungle, on schedule and uneventful, aimed at the weak Belem automatic direction finding (ADF) beacon. To ensure the rudimentary navigation aid was available to its crews, the company had to pay a local radio-broadcast station to stay on the air through the night, giving us a signal to home on.

SEVERAL FOG BANKS surrounded the Belem airport, so we made an ADF approach over the black forest, descending to our weather minimums. There were no approach-guidance lights, but we spotted the airport's weak runway-boundary lights and were able to make a routine landing.

Fog continued to build, thanks to the tropical humidity. Consequently, we quickly refueled and departed with a full load of passengers at 2 a.m. We climbed through thickening fog, then prepared to settle in for a long, 7-hr. flight to Ciudad Trujillo, in the Dominican Republic.

At about 5,000 ft. over Marajo Island, we lost power on engine No. 2--an internal failure of some kind. We quickly shut No. 2 down and feathered its propeller, but the fog over Belem precluded turning back and landing. None of the other airports along our route was outfitted with an instrument landing system, either, so I decided to proceed on three engines, either to Trinidad or to Ciudad Trujillo, depending on conditions en route. We also turned off the wing lights; no sense alarming passengers with the sight of a feathered propeller.

Early in the morning, we passed Port-of-Spain on Trinidad. Good weather prompted my decision to continue to Ciudad Trujillo where the company had maintenance facilities.

After an uneventful landing, mechanics said the dead No. 2 engine would have to be replaced. Unfortunately, only one spare engine normally was kept on-station, and that one had been used the week before on another disabled Constellation. That meant we had two choices: sit on the ground 4-5 days, until a new engine arrived on a C-46 cargo plane. Or, in accordance with approved airline Operations Dept. practices, we could make a three-engine ferry flight to New York--without passengers, of course. At the time, this was an accepted procedure, and crews were trained accordingly. We opted for the ferry flight.

At 11 a.m., with a standard flight-deck crew and two cabin attendants, we made a maximum-weight, three-engine takeoff. We initially could only use full power on two engines--one on each side--then gradually applied power on the third as increased speed gave us adequate rudder power to maintain directional control. As a result, it was a very long takeoff run.

We slowly climbed across the island, then over the ocean, to our 12,000-ft. cruise altitude. Everything was running smoothly, and good weather was forecast in New York. Time to sit back and enjoy . . . .

SUDDENLY, A LOUD whine indicated we had lost control of the propeller on engine No. 4; it was in a runaway state, stuck in flat pitch. That was serious; we definitely were in trouble. A failed governor could no longer control the speed of that prop, which was soon screaming at 5,000-7,000 rpm. At such high speeds, the blades' centrifugal force was too high for the feathering pump to counteract. Even reducing airspeed to near-stall had no effect. I declared an emergency and turned around, hoping we could make it to Ciudad Trujillo.

Our prospects were dim, at best. At such high prop speeds, lubrication of the primary shaft was insufficient. Sooner or later, that shaft would break, and we'd be playing Russian roulette. When--not "if"--the shaft sheared off, the propeller would go one of two ways: slice into the aircraft's fuselage, with fatal results, or, if we were lucky, cartwheel into the ocean below. We maintained minimum airspeed, depressurized the cabin, and hoped for the best. The noise of that runaway prop was unbearable.

A sudden loud bang was followed by tremendous vibration and a fire alarm on engine No. 4 as the propeller ripped off, taking part of the engine with it. What remained of No. 4 was now on fire. Worse, the released blades also had hit the No. 3 prop, causing enough damage to throw it out of balance.

We activated a fire extinguisher on No. 4, and the flames finally extinguished. Attempts to feather the No. 3 propeller were unsuccessful. Airframe vibration was so extreme that we couldn't read the instruments, and the control wheel's hammering soon numbed my hands. Fearing the aircraft would disintegrate, I reduced airspeed until we hung on the verge of stalling.

Lockheed's Super Constellation, with three vertical tail fins, tip tanks and four Wright turbo-compound radial engines, was used for long-distance passenger service in the 1950s and '60s. Credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN

Finally, we managed to feather the unbalanced No. 3 prop. But we were still in serious trouble--over the ocean, struggling to stay aloft on a single outboard engine turning at maximum-continuous power. There was no way we'd reach land, but at least the airplane was still flying.

I increased speed to make sure the rudder remained effective enough to maintain straight-ahead flight. We were drifting down, though. I estimated we'd hit the sea in about 15 min. Plenty of time to transmit our position via HF [high-frequency] radio. We had no provisions or time to dump fuel, so we simply opened over-the-wing emergency hatches and prepared for the inevitable: we were ditching.

Nearing the ocean, we observed swells and waves from different directions. That could only mean low-level, strong winds. We had to land into that wind--but not into the ocean's swells. What to do? I chose an in-between heading, with swells abeam and the nose pointed about 45 deg. into the waves and wind.

The flight deck became very busy. Gear up; flaps full down; pull the overstressed No. 4 engine to idle. We touched down over a swell, as I'd hoped. Still, the aircraft dug in violently, decelerating very quickly, then sliding to the side. When we came to a standstill, the nose was submerged, but popped back up, level with the water. Then silence. Total, complete silence.

I soon heard water gurgling, as it began to stream into the fuselage. In a strange way, after all the horrendous noise, vibration and stress of the previous few minutes, that gurgling noise seemed relaxing. But we had no time to lose; the Connie was sinking. When I left the cockpit, water was already up to my knees.

Ducking into the cabin, I was shocked to see the entire tail had broken off, thanks to high sideforces during the post-landing deceleration. A flight attendant who had been sitting in that section was gone, the crash's only fatality.

Waves were washing over the wings as I stepped through the emergency exit. The Super Constellation had four life rafts installed inside the wings. By pulling a lever on an emergency-exit door, those rafts were designed to eject and inflate, ready for boarding by evacuating passengers.

Unfortunately, the engineers who created the system had no idea what really would happen during an actual ditching. The flaps had been ripped off upon impact, and the jagged exposed structure had punctured every life raft.

We chose the one that seemed to be in the best shape, loaded everybody and pushed off. With real sorrow, we watched our proud Super-Connie sink below the waves, its departure marked only by pools of oil on the ocean's surface. Our emotions swung from the heartbreak of losing a colleague to relief that the rest of us were safe.

SOME SURVIVORS jammed their hands against the raft's holes, while others bailed water with a rubber bucket. Thankfully, water temperatures were mild, almost inviting, but we were far from land. Fortunately, a strong wind was pushing us toward the Dominican Republic's north shore.

Within about 2 hr., we spotted a Coast Guard/Grumman amphibian aircraft coming our way. A radio operator in San Juan had probably dispatched it in response to our Mayday. The amphib skimmed the water, but wouldn't touch down; high waves and strong winds made landing too dangerous. Its crew saw we were having trouble with our life raft, and dropped a new one before departing. However, the raft missed its target zone, landing downwind of our position. Even rowing desperately with our hands, we couldn't reach it. Again, we were left alone in a proverbial leaky boat, without a paddle.

Gradually, the wind pushed us steadily toward land. We spotted people on the shore, probably fishermen, but no one paid any attention to our frantic waving. Finally, as we pulled ourselves onto the beach, hordes of people ran to greet us.

"Why didn't you pick us up?" we asked irritably.

In perfect Spanish, they cried, "Oh no! Here nobody goes in the water! Too many sharks!"

Geraldo W. Knippling, a retired captain, flew for 40 years with Varig. This Contrails story is a condensed and translated excerpt from his book, Talking About Airplanes, which was published in Portuguese.

"For those who fly....or long to."

Contrails is an Aviation Week & Space Technology initiative to capture the untold stories that collectively make up the rich lore of aviation and space.


That reminds me of my father recounting that ~1970, IAF #6 Sqn (flying Super-Constellation) based at AFS Lohegaon on monthly trip to Car-Nicobar once lost (IIRC) two engines on return leg from Car-Nicobar (to Dumdum). The aircraft was slowly sinking. These flight were very popular for families of aircrews (kids like me) becuse in these trips most aircrew carried heavy baggage ( many gunnybags of coconuts that were bought at cheap barter trade from islanders). Apart from fabulous corals picked up from pristine beaches. During this emergency the captain ordered to bail all stuff except very personal items. Out went all the gunnybags of coconuts. with that the Super-Constellation barely maintained altitude yet reached safely Calcutta.

On another occasion (~1973) his flight had emergency with an engine fire but landed safely back to base. While de-planing all aircrew got a decent sprinking of the special fire-extinguisher used to fight oil based fire. His aircrew overall carried the most offensive stench for many weeks inspite of many rounds of washing. Anyone knows what chemical was used those days and if they use the same chemical today?

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Postby JaiS » 22 Feb 2006 19:25

IAF must keep track of latest technology to avoid aircraft accidents: Mukherjee

Referring to the declining fighter aircraft accidents, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday that to avoid aircraft related accidents, the Indian Air Force (IAF) must keep track of the latest technical changes.

The Defence Minister said that the Centre has set up four committees to look into various aspects of the IAF, adding that IAF jet accidents have come down from 370 during 1985-86 and 1994-95 to 276 during 1995-96 and 2004-05.


Lack of proper training causes most fighter plane crashes: Min

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said lack of proper training was found to be the major reason for the large number of fighter plane accidents.

The non-availability of experienced trainers and the fleet for enabling the trainee to put in sufficient number of flying hours was the biggest cause of these accidents, as found by a committee of experts, Mr Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha during question hour.

He said the panel, which submitted its report last year, did not attribute any aircraft accident to poor maintenance. However, a number of accidents were attributed to technical defects like failure of components or systems, material failure, system malfunction and design deficiency.

The committee found that accidents due to human error were at 47 per cent, four per cent due to service errors, while the share of technical reasons and others was 39 and 10 per cent respectively, he said.

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Postby Jagan » 24 Feb 2006 03:31

arun wrote:
Jagan wrote:Updated list for 2005

Code: Select all

AIRFORCE
..........
21-Jun-05   Mil Mi-17   Gp Capt   Shankar   
..........


Jagan,

Going by the Defence Minister’s answers in the Lok Sabha, there was no Mil 17 crash on June 21, 2005. In fact no crash for the armed forces has been reported during the month of June 2005. Perhaps the damage was repairable? :

Question No : 1853

Question No : 247


The MoD accepts there is a crash http://164.100.24.219/rsq/quest.asp?qref=107096 but not whether it is a write off or was recovered.

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Postby Jagan » 24 Feb 2006 21:07

Photo of the recenly forcelanded Helicopter and report. Note the rocket pods on the Mi-171V
--------------------------------
Image
An MI-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force that crash-landed on the Markanda riverbed near Damli village in Shahbad, Kurukshetra, on Friday evening. — Tribune photo by Neeraj Chopra

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060211/haryana.htm#1
IAF copter makes emergency landing
Miraculous escape for 26 personnel
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Shahbad, February 10
Twentysix Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel had a miraculous escape when the helicopter they were travelling in made an emergency landing on the Markanda river bed this evening.

The MI-17 helicopter of the IAF landed on the dry bed of the Markanda near Damli village, located on the Kurukshetra-Ambala border, at about 4.30 p.m. Besides two helicopter pilots, there were 24 other IAF personnel, including a Wing Commander onboard the chopper, when it was forced to make the landing.

While the IAF officials claimed that nobody was injured in the incident, villagers stated that three Air Force personnel had suffered some injuries. The extent of damage to the helicopter was being assessed by the IAF.

The helicopter is said to have taken off on a “routine sortie” from the Halwara airbase in Punjab and it was headed towards the Sarsawa airbase in Uttar Pradesh when the pilot landed the helicopter on the river bed. A “technical fault” was being cited as a probable behind the mishap.

About half an hour after the MI-17 helicopter made the landing, another helicopter was rushed to the spot as part of the rescue mission. It picked up the IAF personnel and their baggage. It left the spot after it had taken the crew and personnel of the affected helicopter onboard.

A resident of Damli village said he saw the helicopter flying away and then suddenly the helicopter turned back. It then came towards Markanda river. Thereafter, when it was just above the river bed, the engine stopped and the helicopter landed with a thud on the river bed, Mr Balwinder Singh, an eyewitness said.

Another eyewitness, Mr Ajit Singh, claimed that due to the emergency landing, three IAF personnel were injured. “Two persons had injured shoulders, while the third had injury on his wrist. I offered to take them to Civil Hospital but they declined the offer,” he said.

Mr Ram Nath, a resident of Damli village, said when the helicopter turned back, he saw two-three bags being dropped from the aircraft. “I immediately sensed that something was wrong. Then I saw the helicopter make an emergency landing. There was a lot of dust when the helicopter landed on the river bed,” he said.

Eyewitnesses opined that the landing on the dry river bed was a wise decision. They stated that there were high-tension power lines located nearby, and if the helicopter had continued on its flight path, a major accident could have taken place.

Meanwhile, the helicopter’s landing on the river bed created a small crater. The front wheels of the copter were completely embedded in the river bed. Its large rotors were barely a few feet above the river bed. The cockpit was later covered with tarpaulin sheets.

The police personnel had a tough time keeping the onlookers at bay.

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Postby kantak » 26 Feb 2006 09:33

How many mi-17's have crashed till now?
was the chetak which came down due to enemy fire in congo recovered ?

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Postby Jagan » 27 Feb 2006 12:06

rad wrote:Its nice to hear about sqn ldr Palit who brought down the jaguar safley after experiencing hydraulic failure and landed whithout the front wheel fully extended in peacetime . He was awarded the vayu sena medal .
Well i would like to bring to readers notice that during the Kargil war Wing Cdr Perumal then Sqdn Ldr , who was flying a recce sortie in a canberra got hit by a stinger missile , the missile blew up an engine .
with one engine and complete electrical failure he opted to fly to Srinagar AFB rather than bail out which he could have done .he landed his plane saftley , I dont think he even got a mention in the despatches leave a lone a Vayu Sena medal ,
Strange are the ways of the vayu sena !!???


someone in air hq must have read your post from last august. Wg Cdr Perumal was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for the feat this year - better late than never!

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Postby shiv » 27 Feb 2006 14:51

http://www.hindu.com/2006/02/27/stories ... 041100.htm
Toxic cockpit fumes that bring danger to the skies

Antony Barnett

Dozens of pilots have flown while dizzy, nauseous and suffering double vision on crowded passenger flights. The cause is contaminated air and it can strike without warning - but the cases have been kept from the public.


THREE WEEKS ago the pilot of a FlyBe flight from Belfast international airport to London Gatwick was preparing his passenger jet for takeoff. He had just received clearance from air traffic control and released the aircraft's brakes, pushing forward on the power levers in the cockpit to open the throttle.

As the plane began to accelerate down the runway at more than 100 mph, he began to smell a strange odour described as similar to a "central heating boiler." His throat became very dry and his eyes began to burn. Such was his discomfort that he was forced to hand control of the plane to his co-pilot. His fingers were tingling and his shirt soaked in sweat. He was confused, talking incoherently and unable to answer questions from his co-pilot. He could not accurately do safety checks. An emergency was declared and the flight returned to Belfast.

In December, a pilot flying a passenger aircraft for another airline experienced something eerily similar when he brought his aircraft in to land. The captain had complained of a strange smell on the flight deck before his first officer pointed out that he was making "operational errors," including missing calls from air traffic control and misjudging the aircraft's altitude and speed on descent. Over the next two days the captain was unable to fly, suffering severe headaches and fatigue. Two months earlier, on a flight to Gatwick, a pilot handling the takeoff had pains in his chest and complained of breathing difficulties. His heart was beating unusually fast. The captain quickly realised his co-pilot was in trouble and took the controls. But at an altitude of 850 feet and within 10 seconds he began to feel similar symptoms himself. Both pilots had to don oxygen masks.

The three events are just some of dozens of cases detailed in a pilot database compiled from confidential testimony to the pilots' union, the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), and official records of the U.K.'s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It details more than 100 incidents in the past three years in which contaminated fumes are alleged to have entered airliner cockpits and cabins. It reveals that in more than 40 of these events since 2003 one or more pilots were impaired in a way that could have affected their ability to fly. Since 2004 pilots flying BA aircraft suffered a degree of impairment from fumes on at least six occasions.

Yet the public has never been told what is happening in the cockpit. The British Parliament has not been told the full extent of the problem. The database by concerned pilots and cabin crew paints a picture of pilots flying with double vision, headaches, nausea, loss of concentration, and disorientation. Some complain of feeling "spaced out" and making errors; others say cabin crew have been affected, with some passing out and being hospitalised.

The chemical name for the dangerous ingredient getting into passenger aircraft is triorthocresyl phosphate, more commonly known as TCP. It is an additive of engine oil used in commercial aircraft. These oils are highly specialised synthetic lubricants vital to a jet's operation. Research has shown that when they reach a very high temperature, as they do on takeoff or landing, they burn and give off hazardous compounds like TCPs. These chemicals are part of the family of organophosphates, similar in structure to pesticides and chemicals used in sheep dip. For years they have been linked to long-term chronic health problems.

Passenger jets have to operate complex systems to ensure that the air within the cabin remains breathable for passengers and crew, even at high altitudes. The filtered air supply is known as the "bleed air." Evidence reveals that in some aircraft with poor engine design, leaky seals or a poor maintenance record, this air can become contaminated with fumes from the jet engines. Research suggests the effect of exposure to TCP can be mild, from a strange taste in the mouth to nausea. But it can lead to symptoms that can incapacitate pilots. Some scientists believe the long-lasting effects for those repeatedly exposed can lead to chronic health problems. Some in the industry fear a potential health scandal and have called it aerotoxic syndrome. Research by a consultant clinical neuropyschologist at University College, London estimates that 197,000 passengers may have been exposed to such fumes in 2004.

Captain Colin Barnett-Higgins, 62, flew for 35 years for several airlines. He took early retirement in 2000 on medical grounds after what he believes was repeated exposure to contaminated oil fumes. His troubles began in 1997. "You normally smelt it when starting the APU [auxiliary power unit] on the ground," he said. "That's your source of electrics and air before the main engines start taxiing. It can get worse on take-off and you begin to feel very tired and exhausted. At the time I never realised. I just struggled on... I hope it doesn't take a disaster for people to take notice."

Today Capt. Barnett-Higgins suffers from chronic fatigue, acute headaches, memory loss, and severe pains in his joints. He only realised his health problems may have been a result of fumes when he read of another incident five years ago in the Log, Balpa's house magazine. "Until then I had put it down to getting older," he said.

It's not just pilots. An air hostess said: "I was a cabin crew member on a 757 in August last year. All the crew had headaches and felt like we were all drunk after smelling fumes in the cabin most of the flight from Glasgow to London. Two passengers asked what was going on. All I could do was the usual and say the smell was harmless. Harmless my foot, our union has several crews sick from these fumes." An engineer for BAe 146s - one of the worst affected - said: "We've had numerous events where crews have been lucky not to bend the aircraft. I know crews who are sick. I will not let my family fly on the 146 because I believe exposure to those oil fumes is harmful. The public needs to know."

Some pilots, cabin crew and trade unions believe there is huge pressure from the airline industry to downplay the problem to avoid spending millions rectifying it. There is also the threat of huge legal bills should crew or passengers prove their health problems are linked to toxic fumes while flying. The response by the industry is that, while it admits there are incidents involving contaminated air, there is no evidence it presents a major safety issue or health hazard, and the amount of TCP those on an aircraft might ingest is too small to present "a significant health risk."

The Countess of Mar, with the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tyler, has been using Britain's House of Lords to reveal the problem. In November she asked the Department of Transport: "How many reports [on exposure to contaminated air in UK aircraft] have been received for each year since 1995?" Responding for the government, Lord Davies of Oldham, quoting from reports made to the CAA, said that since 2003 there had been 100 incidents but only one case of "pilot impairment."

He added that all these reports were investigated and "specific continued airworthiness actions have been taken in respect of BAe 146 and Boeing 757 aircraft to mitigate any effects and to reduce the frequency of occurrence. However, the number of events where impairment has been reported has remained low."

Data reveal that the level of pilot impairment is higher than previously admitted, a fact the CAA has had to accept after responding to our inquiries.

Across the skies this weekend thousands will fly without knowing of the danger that could be seeping in through the air-conditioning system. Pilots are demanding that others take their concerns more seriously before something terrible happens.

- Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

A Sharma
BRFite
Posts: 1156
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Postby A Sharma » 08 Mar 2006 23:06


IssacB
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Location: USA

Postby IssacB » 09 Mar 2006 10:28

cbelwal wrote:Two days ago I sat in a cockpit of a Cirrus SR22. Apart from an all glass cockpit, leather seats and a dashboard that looks like a car it has this amazing flight recovery and safety system where the airplane deploys a parachute in case of a catastropic engine failure and lands the plane vertically. Truly amazing concept and i dont know of any commercial / military airplane has this. One of NASA's X planes uses this though.

Details:

http://www.cirrusdesign.com/aircraft/safety/


Not to nitpick. Having test flown an SR22 with the BRS chute system, I must point out that the airplane does not deploy the chute. It is not automatic. The pilot does and only works if done in time and with sufficient altitude. Before flight, the PIC removes a cover exposing the pull handle and then pulls when crash is imminent. But the system has proven less than a runaway success because pilots have been slow in engaging the system or yanking hard fast enough to make the system deploy in time. Many of the fataliities in the SR22 or 20 have been attributed to low time pilots trying to fly this thoroughbred speedster that is not spin certified. Of course, there is the usual assortment of VFR flyboys venturing into IMC and losing it, chute notwithstanding.

rad
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recognition of wg cdr Perumal

Postby rad » 12 Mar 2006 11:56

Thanks Jagan
for the info on Wng cdr Perumal being awarded the shaurya chakra ,Hi Time , , Ithink sometimes we in BR should remind and keep reminding people concerned about the lapses taking place,
If my post did play a part in him getting the recogition then thats great.

Arun_S
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2800
Joined: 14 Jun 2000 11:31
Location: KhyberDurra

Postby Arun_S » 18 Mar 2006 13:17

Sad news. My condolences to the families. My Gold give strength and support to the families.

And also heartful thanks to the departed souls for lifting the spirit Indians of all ages and inspiring them.

My Last Salute to the IAF Heroes. Godspeed into the secure fold of God's wings. Rest In Peace.


2 IAF pilots killed as Surya Kiran planes crash
PTI
Saturday, March 18, 2006 11:35 IST

BANGALORE: Two pilots of Indian Air Force's 'Surya Kiran' aerobatics team were killed when their plane crashed on the outskirts of Bidar in north Karnataka on Saturday, police said.

The mishap occurred when the tail of one plane hit another during the practice, according to initial reports.

The damaged plane crashed into a toor dal field in Naubad on the outskirts of Bidar, about 700 km from here, the reports said.

The mishap occurred at about 9.20 am, the sources added. The pilots killed have been identified as Sqn Ldr S Singh and Wg Cdr D Bhatia. An inquiry had been ordered into the crash, the spokesman said.

According to an eye-witness the ill-fated aircraft caught fire before it crashed killing both the pilots on the spot.
Last edited by Arun_S on 18 Mar 2006 23:19, edited 1 time in total.


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