The Tragic Tale Behind Air Accidents - The New Indian Express

The Tragic Tale Behind Air Accidents

Published: 08th April 2014 08:16 AM

Last Updated: 08th April 2014 08:17 AM

It is exactly a month since MH370 tragedy occurred, and yet, we do not know why this tragic incident happened. What we do know is that this was a totally avoidable incident, but waiting to happen! Live satellite tracking system costs just $12.70 an hour. Yet, it was not purchased by the Malaysian Airlines.

Well, this is what Captain Samir (Sam) Kohli, the author who is an accomplished pilot and an air accident investigator of international repute, says after coming out with his fascinating account of tragic air incidents, notably the Mangalore air crash in his book ‘Waiting To Happen’.

Elaborating on the disappearance of Malaysian airlines’ flight, he further says, “When the transponder of MH370 inexplicably stopped transmission and the aircraft reportedly changed course, it was flying through one of the busiest air-corridors in the world.

There were scores of other commercial flights in the same area, each unable to see MH370 even on their Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and each assuming every other aircraft was exactly where it ought to be. Air Traffic Control (ATC) system has a very important task of keeping planes separated and they cannot do that unless they know where the planes are.

Yet, from 1.21 am onwards, MH370 was a ghost flight...providing nothing except primary radar echo to military radars that failed to respond and alert other planes or the ATC. Consider this: What if MH370 had collided with one of the other commercial flights in that area? The casualties would have been at least double and the scale of disaster unthinkable.

That this did not happen, is surely providence! Once again, due to apathy of the military, another such event remains happen!”

From start to finish, this book set in fast-paced action tells the real tragic incidents in the air to drive home the point --- the mistakes in designing, the manufacturer, the regulator, the management and the administrators who reduce the margins of safety and create conditions for a disaster.

Captain Sam, with his vast experience of military combat operations, air accident investigations, airport design, construction and management and aviation support to the oil and gas industry, has come out with a book that packs very interesting factual details, providing information that is so vital for safe air travel.

One should definitely read this book, be it a pilot, passenger or an aviation administrator as it talks about the need for safe travel, the flaws in the system, the awareness among travellers about safety and of course, how to ensure your safety. Although the book was before MH370 event, but it contains all the information and tools necessary to understand the recent tragic incident.

If you are a regular flier, then this book provides all the necessary information that you must have before you choose which airlines to fly with, which airport can keep you safe and which country has set the focus correctly for its aviation industry with a top-down approach.

Among the top 20 bestsellers worldwide since the day of its release, the book brings back the horrible memories of the crash of Air India Express, Flight 812 at Mangalore Airport where more than 145 passengers were burnt alive.

Captain Sam Kohli, who did an independent investigation of this mishap on the request of the families of the victims, has penned each and every detail about this incident and how the official inquiry had just blamed the pilot while brushing aside the mistakes of so many organisations, including the infrastructure at Mangalore Airport, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Air India and many others.

Even three years after the accident, no corrective action has been taken against the flaws that caused the disaster at Mangalore, the author observes. Using many case studies and examples from other mishaps as well, the author explains why the accident of Flight IX 812 was ‘waiting to happen’ and therefore, what needs to be done before another such accident happens. To the average citizen, it provides questions that must be asked of their elected political representatives and civil servants in order to improve the safety performance of airlines and airports; services whose use cannot be avoided in the modern world.

A self published book, it is an interesting read for anybody at any time and I recommend it for pilots, bureaucrats and frequent fliers.


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