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President's chopper landed without ATC clearance,says report

July 01, 2009 21:33 IST

The probe into the near-collision between a helicopter belonging to the Presidential fleet and an Air India aircraft at Mumbai airport in February has found that the Indian Air Force chopper landed on the runway without clearance from the air traffic control.

Describing the incident as "serious", the Joint Investigation Team led by Director General Civil Aviation SNA Zaidi has established that the landing of IAF helicopter Pratap 2 (was) "without landing clearance from the Air Traffic Control even before Pratap formation reported the final". "Landing (of) Pratap 1 and 3 (two other choppers carrying President Pratibha Patil and her delegation) was without landing clearance," the report said.

The incident had occurred on February 9, 2009, when the three helicopters of the IAF's VVIP fleet landed on the tarmac when Air India's flight IC-866 was picking up speed for take off. The Air India plane's pilot averted the accident by aborting take off and moving on to the taxi way in a matter of seconds. The report also pointed out "unsatisfactory" coordination among various agencies and said there was "no common SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) between Indian Air Force and Airports Authority of India (which runs ATC) for VVIP operations".

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