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Needed: Better weather monitoring system

The air ambulance crash in Faridabad on Wednesday has led to aviation ministry officials voicing concerns over the kind of information being provided to it by the Meteorological department. Tushar Srivastava reports.

delhi Updated: May 28, 2011 00:14 IST
Tushar Srivastava

The air ambulance crash in Faridabad on Wednesday has led to aviation ministry officials voicing concerns over the kind of information being provided to it by the Meteorological department. What is required at this time, they say, is to make the system more efficient.

Before every General Aviation (GA) flight, which includes private jets and small aircraft, a briefing on the weather conditions is taken before permission is granted, officials said. "With GA operations in India having grown at a fast pace, there is a need to focus on aspect of the weather, too. As this incident proves, weather can be a huge problem. The information has to be accurate as small aircraft can run into serious problems due to any change in weather," an official said.

The Swiss single-engine turboprop, en route from Patna to New Delhi, weighed just over 4,500kg. Its crash claimed 10 lives. The plane did not have a black box, which contains the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder. So the probe into the cause of the accident will primarily focus on the analysis of aircraft engine and the conversation between the pilots and Air Traffic Control (ATC). Weather reports of Patna and Lucknow will also be looked into.

According to sources, the wind pressure on Wednesday was so strong that the aircraft drifted by 30kilometres from its original flight path. "The plane had ceased to move and the pilot had told the ATC that he was facing extreme turbulence. The descent was so fast that he might have lost control," a ministry official said.

The government has announced the setting up of a three-member court of inquiry (CoI) to investigate the crash. The aircraft wreckage has been moved from accident site.

Meanwhile, the aviation ministry has called a review meeting of state secretaries on June 1 on whether civil aviation guidelines issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on GA operations are being followed or not.

Also, a meeting of the aviation ministry's committee on air safety - CASAC - has been called on May 30.