Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh spent a few tense moments mid-air on Monday, when his helicopter dropped over 50 feet in a few seconds while returning to Raipur from strife-torn Sukma district in south Chhattisgarh. However, the pilot managed to take manual control of the chopper and stabilise it before any damage was done.
Singh was travelling with state education minister Kedar Kashyap Kedar Kashyap when the incident occurred.
“Prima facie, it appears as if the chopper’s flight director suffered some minor technical glitch, causing it to drop altitude by around 50 feet. However, the pilot quickly took control – shifting the flight mode from auto to manual. There was no panic,” aviation department director Rajat Kumar told Hindustan Times.
The Chhattisgarh chief minister travels in a double-engine Augusta 109, which is regularly tested on all technical parameters of safety.
The pilot, GK Panda, said that the chopper was flying on auto mode when it suddenly jerked mid-air and began falling. “We immediately switched to manual mode and took control. This does happen at times, but we pilots are trained to handle such situations,” he added.
The chopper will be put through a thorough technical check before it is used again.