9 Incidents of Minor Errors Leading To Major Air Crashes in India
Many Major Air Crashes have been a result of Pilot Error, putting a question mark to the whole aviation Industry of our country. Thousands of people have died because of somebody else’s negligence. These 9 Major Air Crashes are a proof for the same.
Major Air Crashes
1) Air India Express Flight 812 : Pilot fell Asleep
The plane overshot the runway on landing at Mangalore International Airport on 22 May 2001 leading to one of the major air crashes.
Number of Deaths: 158
- Cockpit Voice Records revealed that one of the pilots was asleep in the cockpit. It did not pick any conversation from them for 110 minutes.
- The flying path taken for landing by the captain was wrong. So, after he touched down, he tried to take off again but could not.
The cause of this accident was Captain’s failure to discontinue the unstabilized approach and his persistence in continuing with the landing.
2) Indian Airlines Flight 491 : Pilot did not lift the nose(front) wheel properly during the take off.
Aircraft crashed into a lorry at the end of the runway while taking off from Aurangabad, on 26 April 1993.
Number of deaths: 55
- After taking off almost at the end of the runway, it impacted heavily with a lorry on a highway. Thereafter, it hit the high tension electric wires nearly 3 km away from the runway and then the ground.
3) Indian Airlines Flight 257 : Pilot started descending too early, took a wrong turn, had no time for landing which led to a Major Air Crash
It crashed on descent into Imphal on 16 August 1991.
Number of deaths: 69
- Pilots did not adhere to the operational flight plan.
- Hence, leading to a delay in making a procedural turn to the normal flying path. Therefore, ramming the aircraft into the Thanjing hills.
4) Indian Airlines Flight 605 : Pilots confused between similar looking controls : Set the altitude instead of setting the rate of descent.
It crashed on its final approach to Bangalore airport on 14 February 1990
Number of Deaths: 92
- India’s investigative team concluded that pilot error was the cause of the accident, which was supported by Airbus Industries.
- The Pilot had set the altitude of the aircraft instead of setting the rate of descent.
- Since both the knobs are located next to each other and have similar design. This might have led to the confusion
- However, the India Commercial Pilot Association did not agree with the report.
- They stated that there was no proof that he made the faulty setting since the flight data recorder didn’t record such a mistake.
5) Indian Airlines Flight 113 : Pilots did not stick to the procedures laid down in case of poor visibility conditions.
It crashed on its final approach to Ahmedabad Airport on 19 October, 1988.
Number of Deaths: 130
The final High Court ruling was:
- The major share of responsibility goes to the pilot and the co-pilot. They acted recklessly knowing the consequence of their actions.
- Airport Authority did not provide the latest visibility report to the aircraft.
6) Air India Flight 403 : Pilots miscalculated the aircraft altitude in a heavy rainstorm
It crashed at Sahar International Airport in Bombay on 21 June 1982
Number of deaths: 17
The Indian board of inquiry determined :
- The pilot was not aware of the altitude of his aircraft.
- He reduced the engine power just before the first impact.
- This resulted in a high rate of descent causing very heavy landing and undershooting of the aircraft by 1300 feet.
7) Air India Flight 855 : Captain could not figure out the altitude of his aircraft
It crashed off the coast of Bandra, Bombay (now Mumbai) on 1 January 1978.
Number of Deaths: 213
- The irrational control inputs by the captain.
- He was unaware that the altitude indicator was malfunctioning.
- The crew failed to gain control based on the other flight instruments & the captain became spatially disoriented after the failure of one of the flight instruments in the cockpit.
8) Indian Airlines Flight 171 : In-flight fire
It crashed in Bombay on 12 October 1976
Number of Deaths: 95
- After takeoff from runway, Flight 171 suffered an engine failure.
- The crew immediately turned back to attempt an emergency landing on Bombay Airport.
- It is believed that the fire consumed the aircraft’s supply of hydraulic fluid leading to an out of control jet.
9) Indian Airlines Flight 440 : Aircraft was way too low for a proper landing.
It crashed on approach to Palam Airport (now Indira Gandhi International Airport) on 31 May 1973.
Number of deaths: 48
- Investigators determined the cause to be crew error in letting the aircraft descend below the prescribed height leading to one of the major are crashes.
In 2013 Air India was rated as the world’s third most unsafe airline. Pilots have been busted for drinking and flying or for being sober and yet not following the procedures.