M A I N   N E W S

Haryana Guv Pahadia’s plane crash-lands
All 10 on board, including Guv’s wife, safe
Aircraft develops snag soon after take-off at Chandigarh Airport
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

The King Air B-200
Is an eight-seater twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft
Was acquired by the Haryana Government in 2005 for Rs 21.76 crore
Had completed 2,010 flying hours and undergone periodic maintenance checks

The Crew
Wg Cdr Bhushan Nanda Senior Executive Pilot A highly-experienced IAF ex-officer, he had served with the IAF Communications Squadron that flies VVIPs
Capt Dinesh Bansal Junior Pilot

(Click on image for enlarged view)

Chandigarh, March 27
Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and nine others had a narrow escape when their state government aircraft crash-landed seconds after it took off from the Chandigarh Airport on Thursday.

Besides the Governor, his wife Shanti Pahadia and eight others — including two ADCs, a doctor, an attendant and two crew members — were on board the New Delhi-bound King Air B-200 aircraft.

No one suffered injury and the Governor was later taken to the PGIMER for a medical examination. He was eventually discharged. The aircraft was under the command of Wg Cdr Bhushan Nanda, senior executive pilot with the Haryana Government.

The eight-seater twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft, with call sign Victor-Tango-Hotel-Romeo-Alpha, has been badly damaged and appears to be beyond economical repairs, with its engines and the front part of the fuselage totally mangled.

The pilots detected a malfunction in the control systems during the take-off roll around 11.30 am, a source said. Just three seconds after lift-off, the aircraft yawed towards the left, indicating control mechanism failure or loss of power in the left engine.

It was flying at a speed of around 200 knots 30 feet off the ground. Experts say the malfunction was detected possibly after the “rotation speed” was crossed, thereby ruling out aborting take-off.

The plane’s undercarriage would not have been retracted within the short period, it absorbed the impact thereby reducing damage to the rear cabin.

The pilots managed to bring down the aircraft on the grass patch along the 9,000-feet runway, relatively reducing impact. The aircraft’s left wing and engine hit the ground first, resulting in smoke and setting off the fire alarms.

The aircraft begun its take-off run from the runway’s Zirakpur end and was headed towards the Mohali cricket stadium. The IAF’s dispersal bay, home to an Il-76 and an AN-32 squadron, was to the stricken aircraft’s right.

Responding to the distress call, Air Force crash tenders arrived at the crash site within seconds and took control of the situation, dousing the engines with fire retardant and evacuating the passengers and crew. Being a defence airfield, air traffic control and emergency services are operated by the air force.

“It was definitely a system malfunction during takeoff. What exactly went wrong can only be determined by a thorough inquiry that will follow,” a senior officer with the state civil aviation department said. The Directorate General Civil Aviation would be the lead investigation agency in this case.

The Haryana Government had acquired the aircraft in 2005 for Rs 21.76 crore. It had completed 2,010 flying hours and had undergone periodic maintenance, the state government claimed.

Manufactured by Beechcraft Corporation of USA, King Air variants have been in production since 1974 and are widely used globally as business jets as well as by the military.

Following the incident, scheduled commercial air traffic from the Chandigarh airport were disrupted for about one-and-a-half hour and three civilian flights were reportedly delayed.

“Since the runway was not affected by the incident, routine air traffic was restored as soon as emergency vehicles moved away and the runway had been inspected for the presence of any foreign objects,” an Air Force officer said.





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