Conditions were not conducive for landing: Civil aviation expert
Ranganathan, an aviation safety consultant and a former instructor pilot of the Boeing 737 specialising in wet runway operations, added that he was surprised that aviation regulator DGCA gave permission to the flight to land there.Updated: Aug 09, 2020 04:51 IST
Civil aviation expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan believes that the pilot of the Air India Boeing 737, a Covid-19 evacuation flight from Dubai that crashed on Friday, should have diverted to Coimbatore as the conditions in Kozhikode were not conducive for landing.
“The visibility was fine,” said Ranganathan. “But due to the torrential downpour, it was not prudent to land in Kozhikode. The pilot should have diverted to Coimbatore.”
Ranganathan, an aviation safety consultant and a former instructor pilot of the Boeing 737 specialising in wet runway operations, added that he was surprised that aviation regulator DGCA gave permission to the flight to land there.
“The runway is not safe,” said Ranganathan. “From what I have heard, not much has changed since I was there last. It is fortunate that a 737 was landing and not a wide body flight.”
According to Ranganathan, he warned authorities a year after the 2010 Mangalore crash that the Calicut runway was unsafe for landing and needed to be re-evaluated, but his message was ignored.
“It is a dangerous situation, especially in wet conditions. Runway 10 approaches should not be permitted in view of the lack of RESA (runway end safety area) and the terrain beyond the end of the runway,” Ranganathan said in his report submitted 17 June 2011.
He was then a member of the operations group of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee (CASAC).
“... in spite of the danger if the crew accept a landing in wet and tailwind conditions, their concept of ALAR (Approach and Landing Accident Reduction) is very poor,” he said in the communication.
On Saturday, Ranganathan added that a 240m RESA should immediately be introduced and the runway length should be reduced to make operations “safe”.
“There should 150m on either side to avoid mishaps,” Ranganathan told HT. “But there is not sufficient area there. It has always been dangerous.”