First Officer HS Ahluwalia, co-pilot of the ill-fated Air India (AI) Express flight that crashed in Mangalore last May, had complained in writing about a foreign pilot to the airline management.
“The management was yet to counsel him and the foreign pilot. Possibly, due to such feelings, the First Officer (FO) did not try to wake up the Captain, who was fast asleep. It is evident from the cockpit voice recorder that there had been practically no conversation between the two pilots for a long period of time, suggesting that the Captain had slept for a considerable period,” said the report by the Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the country’s worst air tragedy of the decade.
Captain Zlatko Glusica, 55, a Serbian national, was the commander of the Dubai-Mangalore AI Express flight that crashed on May 22 killing 158 people.
“The Captain was asleep with sounds of intermittent snoring and deep breathing heard for the first 1 hour and 40 minutes of the recording, out of the total two hour and five minutes. This had possibly led to sleep inertia and impaired judgement,” the report said.
Hindustan Times had reported the findings of the report on November 16 (Mangalore crash: Pilot nodded off) when the CoI had handed over the report to the government. “There had been a series of mistakes right from top of the descent till touchdown. The likely explanation for these errors was sleep inertia caused by long and deep sleep during cruise.”
Glusica, the report said, was “assertive” and would display an attitude of “I am right”. “This aspect is evident when in reply to radio telephony call by ATC tower ‘Express India 812 Confirm Established’, although not correctly positioned on the ILS Glide Path, the Captain had somewhat forced the First Officer to give a call, ‘Affirmative’,” it said. The CoI has recommended that the airline carry out a detailed check into background of foreign pilots.