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Data | Three deadly helicopter accidents in October point to broader concerns with Indian aviation

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India scores poorly in licensing regime and organisational processes and over 40% of helicopter accidents have been as a consequence of pilot errors

India scores poorly in licensing regime and organisational processes and over 40% of helicopter accidents have been as a consequence of pilot errors

In October, 13 folks had been killed in three accidents in India involving helicopters. On October 5, an Military aviation pilot was killed after a Cheetah helicopter crashed close to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. On October 18, a industrial chopper ferrying pilgrims from Kedarnath crashed, killing all seven on board. On October 21, a navy helicopter crashed, killing all of the 5 personnel on board, within the Higher Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Through the years, there have been many such incidents leading to a whole bunch of fatalities. Uttarakhand, the place the newest accident involving a industrial copter befell, is a hotbed for chopper accidents. A conservative estimate based mostly on incident reviews by the Directorate Normal of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reveals that at the least 9 helicopters, lots of them ferrying pilgrims contained in the State, met with accidents between 1990 and 2019. Map 1 reveals the approximate take-off spots and supposed touchdown spots of 72 industrial helicopters concerned in accidents in that interval. A excessive variety of accidents was recorded within the Northeast too.

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Greater than 150 folks, together with pilots, crew and passengers, misplaced their lives in accidents involving industrial helicopters between 1990 and 2019 ( Chart 2A). Between 1998 and 2021, 124 navy personnel had been killed in accidents involving defence helicopters ( Chart 2B).

Over 40% of economic helicopter accidents had been as a consequence of pilot error ( Chart 3). Harsh climate, the suspected cause behind the October 18 accident, was the rationale for 19% of the accidents. About 9% had been attributed to ‘cable hit’ (the place a helicopter will get entangled in wires/cables utilized by locals in mountainous areas to move items). These cables are sometimes not marked with warning indicators and usually are not seen from a distance, particularly when the climate is poor. Near 85% of the fatalities as a consequence of industrial helicopter accidents occurred in broad daylight, 54% whereas the copters had been cruising, and 37% when the copters had been touchdown. Take-off appears to be the most secure a part of the flight, inflicting the least variety of deaths within the 1990-2019 interval.

An evaluation of accidents involving industrial airplanes within the 1990-2019 interval reveals that there have been 999 fatalities throughout India. Nevertheless, when analysed temporally, the variety of accidents involving each helicopters and flights has lowered within the final decade in comparison with earlier intervals.

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Whereas the explanations for particular person accidents fluctuate, an evaluation of the Worldwide Civil Aviation Group’s Common Security Oversight Audit Programme reveals some broader considerations with Indian aviation requirements. The audit was performed between 2016 and 2018 throughout eight broad areas ( Chart 4). A rustic’s rating in every space is then in comparison with the world common, to reach at poor sectors. India scored effectively above the world-average in six of the eight parameters however lagged behind in two — personnel licensing and coaching, and civil aviation organisation. These two areas broadly cope with the institution of related aviation businesses by the state, supported by adequate and certified personnel and enough monetary sources. Additionally they contain the implementation of documented processes and procedures to make sure that personnel and organisations meet the established necessities earlier than they’re licensed to fly. A poor rating within the licensing regime and organisational processes, when learn together with the truth that over 40% of helicopter accidents had been as a consequence of pilot errors, factors to a deeper downside behind these accidents.

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Supply: DGCA, Worldwide Civil Aviation Group’s Common Security Oversight Audit Programme

Additionally learn: Indian Air Force helicopter crash analysis | Pilots should always have the last word


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