''The crew (Capt Sampal and Capt Bagga) had not followed the
correct approach procedure which resulted in the aircraft being high
on approach. They had kept the engines at idle thrust and allowed
the air speed to reduce to a lower than normally permissible value
on approach,'' the court of inquiry headed by Air Marshal P Raj Kumar said in its report submitted to Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav in New Delhi on Saturday morning.
The pilots manoeuvered the aircraft with high pitch altitude and
executed rapid roll reversals. The crew initiated a 'go around'
procedure instead of 'approach to stall recovery' procedure, resulting in an actual stall of the aircraft, loss of control and
In sharp contrast to blame being heaped on the national carrier
for using old planes, the court of inquiry clearly said the aircraft
was fully airworthy and was properly maintained. ''No in-flight
failure of any system had occurred''.
In the course of the investigations, the inquiry found out that
Patna airport has several operational constraints resulting in
erosion of safety margins for operation of Airbus 320s and Boeing 737s. In addition, Patna airport had no further scope for expansion.
Earlier, revelations made by the cockpit voice recorder tapes
revealed that until eight seconds before the plane crashed while
approaching Patna airport, there was no alarm on the flight deck of
the 20-year-old Boeing.
The flight had taken off from Calcutta at 0650 hours IST and was on a
scheduled flight to Delhi via Patna and Lucknow. Two pilots, four
air-hostesses and 52 passengers were on board.
The weather at Patna was clear with a visibility of four
km. On board, 30 seconds prior to the crash, the crew
requested a 360 degree turn due to being high on approach and were
cleared by the air traffic controller on duty.
The aircraft stalled shortly after commencing the 360 degree
turn and crashed in the Gardani Bagh residential area. All the crew
and passengers on board were killed.
The court of inquiry, which was set up shortly after the crash, has
in its report recommended improvement in crew training procedures
and reorganisation of the quality control set up of Alliance Air.
It has suggested removal of constraints for operation of A-320s
and B-737s at Patna airport and development of the Air Force
station Bihta as an alternative to the Patna airport.
The ministry of civil aviation will shortly constitute a high-level group headed by the DGCA to take follow-up action on the
In the inquiry, Kumar was assisted by Capt N S Mehta, director-AIB safety (retd), Air-India and Shailesh A Deshmukh, general manager-(engg),who were assessors. S N Dwivedi, deputy director of airworthiness, DGCA, was the secretary of the court of inquiry.
The Complete Coverage: The Alliance Air Crash
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