Human error could have caused the crash that killed two navy pilots who were performing aerobatics at an air show in Hyderabad on March 3, navy sources said.
The stunt plane, an indigenously built jet trainer, could not climb out from a steep dive and plowed into a residential building. The navy’s inquiry into the crash is complete.
A navy source said, “Signs point to human error. It appears the pilot yanked back on the stick a little more to tighten his turn and increase his bank angle to carry out the ‘bomb burst’ maneouvre.”
The four aircraft, of the navy’s Sagar Pawan flight demonstration team, were dispersing to carry out the maneouvre that resembles a “bomb burst”.
The source said the Kiran Mk II trainer stalled (lost speed) and went out of control as it was turning to the direction of recovery. “The aircraft was in level flight when it crashed into the building. The pilot was competent, but it seems a split-second decision went wrong.”
A navy spokesperson, however, said it was too early to conclude the cause of the crash before the naval headquarters accepted the findings of the inquiry report. “The inquiry report will be processed by Flag Officer Naval Aviation, Goa, before it comes to the naval headquarters, which may accept or reject it. It’s too early to say anything,” he said.
The crash ended the Sagar Pawan’s zero-crash record since it was formed in 2003.