AI pilot, 2 crew grounded after cockpit drama
A cockpit drama up in the air during which the auto pilot was disconnected on an international Air India flight has led to the grounding of a pilot and two flight attendants.delhi Updated: May 04, 2013 01:17 IST
A cockpit drama up in the air during which the auto pilot was disconnected on an international Air India flight has led to the grounding of a pilot and two flight attendants.
Aviation regulator has launched a probe into the April 12 incident that took place on board AI's Bangkok-Delhi flight, with 166 passengers on board.
As per reports, pilots left two flight attendants in-charge of the cockpit as they napped in the business class for 40 minutes.
Air India, however, has denied that the pilots left the cockpit.
The co-pilot was reportedly the first to leave — for a bathroom break. As per procedure, he asked a flight attendant to be in the cockpit.
Minutes later, the captain called another stewardess. After giving her a “crash course” in flying the Airbus 321, he, too, left, leaving the two stewardesses in-charge of the cockpit. The pilots were forced to rush back after one of the flight attendants accidentally switched off the auto-pilot, reports claimed.
Sources at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, however, said the flight attendants were called in by the pilots and the four were locked in the cockpit for a “very long time”. “What happened inside is best left to your imagination. We’re conducting an inquiry,” a source said.
A probe confirmed “overstay” after which the co-pilot and the two crew were suspended, pending final inquiry, AI said. “During the incident, due to distraction the co-pilot had touched the auto pilot disconnect button momentarily. But the same was connected back,” it said.