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Faridabad crash: Engine only hope

The Canada-made engine of the ill-fated Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which crashed in Faridabad on Wednesday, holds vital clues for the crash probe. At the same time, it is the same engine that is holding up the investigation.

delhi Updated: May 28, 2011 23:51 IST
Sidhartha Roy

The Canada-made engine of the ill-fated Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which crashed in Faridabad on Wednesday, holds vital clues for the crash probe. At the same time, it is the same engine that is holding up the investigation.

The Swiss aircraft has an engine built by a Canadian firm, Pratt and Whitney (PT6A-67B Turboprop), which survived the crash intact. With the small aircraft not having a voice recorder or black box, common in bigger aircraft, investigators are relying on the engine.

The officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), however, are apprehensive about opening up the engine for examination.

“The Canadian firm has been asked to send their engineers to dismantle the engine as they have the right expertise. If we open it ourselves, we might end up damaging it,” said an official close to the probe, who didn’t wish to be named.

“The engine is the only part of the aircraft that survived the crash and is in a good condition,” he said.

“We will examine how much power it was generating when the aircraft witnessed bad weather and other technical parameters,” he said.

The engine, along with the rest of the wreckage, has been shifted to a hangar at the Safdarjung airport.

The congested area where the crash occurred and hundreds of onlookers at the site had made investigations difficult.

Although the wreckage was shifted in a truck from Faridabad’s Parvatiya Colony to the non-operational Safdarjung airport, the probe team had a tough time bringing it out from inside the colony.

“The lanes are so narrow and congested that the truck could not go inside. A small wall obstructing the path was broken and a JCB (bulldozer) was used to put the wreckage on a tractor and then it was brought out in parts,” he said.