Mumbai chopper crash report within a week

The DGCA does not have enough manpower to do safety audits, claims air safety expert

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | December 12, 2016 | Mumbai


#DGCA   #Mumbai   #Helicopter crash   #air safety  
 Four-seater Robinson R-44 helicopter
Photo source: www.robinsonheli.com

 A two member team from the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau is conducting an investigation into a helicopter crash in Mumbai. A senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told Governance Now that the results will be known after a week, when the investigations are over. 

To a query if adequate air safety standards exist, the official said all safety standards exist, but these have to be followed.
 
The four-seater Robinson R-44 helicopter crashed into the hilly terrain of Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon on Sunday  morning, killing its pilot Praful Kumar Mishra (57) and injuring  three others - Ritesh Modi (36) and his wife Vrinda Modi (33) and technician Sanjeev Shankar (24).
 
The chopper took off from  Juhu Airport at 11.52 am with the Modi couple, residents of Borivali, who had booked a 15-minute ride. 
 
According to officials of the Juhu Air Traffic Control (ATC), Mishra got in touch with them at 11.56 am and told them that he would have to crash-land the aircraft due to problems in its clutch. Juhu ATC officials said the chopper crashed exactly a minute later — at 11.57 am.
 
Speaking on safety measures, retired airline pilot and air safety expert, Mohan Ranganathan said, “There is a lot of cutting corners and DGCA just turns a blind eye. The directorate does not have proper manpower to do surveillance safety audits. People are just signing on dotted lines without properly completing the audits. This is a big problem.”
 
However, Rohit Kapoor, member, Business Aircraft Operators Association and MD Arrow Aircraft Sails and Charters Pvt Ltd, said that though safety measures are always in place, a  technical snag can  happen to any aircraft. “Here it seems the pilot had made a radio transmission contact. The investigations will reveal if it was a technical failure or something else.” 
 
Aman Aviation had purchased the helicopter from Pawn Hans four years ago for commercial use.  Apart from joyrides, Aman Aviation provides services for aerial advertisement, film shooting and geological surveys. The company charges between Rs 3,200 for a 10-minute ride and Rs 17,000 for 60 minutes per person for the joyrides.
 

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