Faridabad Air Ambulance Crash: DGCA, the real culprit

By Jacob K Philip

VT-ACF, The Pilates PC-12 aircraft that crashed on 25 May. This picture was taken in early January this year when the aircraft was with its previous owner Range Flyers Inc, US.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulatory body alone is responsible for the Wednesday night’s small aircraft crash at Faridabad near Delhi that Killed all 7 people on board and 3 on ground.

It was by violating its own regulations that DGCA had granted permission to the single engine Pilatus PC-12/45 to fly as air ambulance in India.

The CAR or Civil Aviation Requirement notification released by DGCA on 1st June, 2010 (SECTION 3, AIR TRANSPORT

SERIES ‘C’, PART III, ISSUE II) prohibits all single engine aircraft ferrying patients.

Captain Mohan Ranganathan , aviation safety expert and veteran pilot who also is a member of Safety Advisory Committee of the Aviation Ministry points out:

” The CAR (Civil Aviation Requirement) is very clear that a Single-engine aircraft cannot be used for ambulance flgihts. The CAR is also very clear that the flight cannot be undertaken at night and in Bad weather conditions..”

Paragraphs 2.2 & 2.3 of the CAR:

Single engine, turbine powered aeroplanes may be operated day/night, VFR/IFR weather conditions as per their certification and operating procedures stipulated in flight manual. Single engine piston airplanes shall not be operated at night or in Instrument Meteorological conditions. However, they may be operated under special VFR subject to the limitations contained in the type certificate.

Operations with single engine aeroplanes shall be conducted only on domestic sectors except for medical evacuation flights and shall be operated along such routes or within such areas for which surfaces are available which permit a safe forced landing to be executed.

” When the flight left Patna, there was a Squall warning for Delhi. The flight should not have been cleared as it was already night and the weather forecast was bad.Whoever gave the permission for the flight from DGCA should be held accountable for all the fatalities..” say Capt. Ranganathan who has more than 20,000 hours of flying experience to his credit.

The Union government has already announced it will appoint a committee of inquiry to probe the crash of the air ambulance in a residential area in neighbouring Faridabad.

But it is really doubtful if the probe would reach anywhere.

Because in this accident the law maker, who also happens to be the agency that implements the law, itself is the real culprit.

And it has already become clear, to where the investigation is heading:

See this news report:

Preliminary probe by aviation regulator DGCA into the Faridabad air crash that claimed ten lives today pointed towards technical malfunction and high velocity winds as possible major reasons for the mishap.

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Comments

  • sajeev kumar  On June 20, 2011 at 3:28 am

    This report is made without analysing the realities. Pilatus PC-12/45 is used by Royal Flying Doctor Services in Australia for a long time now and is best suited for medevac. So just blaming DGCA for this accident does not carry sense. It is one of the most reliable Aircrafts I have worked on. By the way Iam an engineer and have worked on PC-12/45 for 3 years when it was newly introduced in India by Deccan aviation.Now Iam not working with them. It is equipped with Pratt and Whitney PT6A family single turboprop engine which has got exceptional reliability. May be it is true that the weather played the vital role in this accident.

  • yogesh guha  On June 2, 2011 at 3:41 am

    The CAR was changed by Deputy Director General Ramesh to support Deccan Aviation to start Pilatus operation!

  • rajiv jain  On May 30, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Same DGCA CAR para 9.2 clearly states “However, single engine aircraft will not be allowed to operate to International destinations except for medical evacuation flights.”

    If med evac flt are permitted on single engine aircraft on international destinations, they are logically permitted on domestic sectors as well.

    Paras 2.2 and 9.2 need to be read together to get the gist correctly.

    Also PC12 is a single engine turbine engine aircraft and not a piston engine aircraft. hence, it can do all VFR and IFR sorties by day and night including med evac flights both domestic and international