BANGALORE: Hit by Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)’s findings into the 2010 August Chetak crash, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) launched a strong defence terming some of the comments as “incorrect”.
In an email response to Express’ queries, a senior HAL official on condition of anonymity, backed the pilot Air Cmde (Retd) ROJ Assey, Flying Instructor at the Rotary Wing Academy (RWA), who survived the crash with minor injuries.
He had over 4,200 hours of flying and his trainee pilot Capt Virendra Singh of the Indian Army, who too escaped, around 15 hours.
Taking on DGCA’s comment that RWA doesn’t have an approved training manual, the official said: “We sent the manual to DGCA but the approval is pending despite several reminders.”
HAL says a special audit of RWA was carried out in 2011 by a special team and no non-compliance was found.
“Every year, the audit is carried out by an inspector for renewal of RWA’s approval where the current medical and standardisation checks are put under the scanner. The crash investigation report has not been written by a pilot, who understands the mechanics of flying and flying training. One has to take into consideration the total accident-incident free record of the instructor and comment,” the official said.
On DGCA’s observation on the instructor’s hover height and “improper” handling, during the time of crash, the official said: “While teaching we always maintain a higher height so that the pupil gets more room to manoeuvre. This is a globally-accepted technique. If the instructor was on the controls, this accident would never have happened. But if the instructor is always at the controls, the pupil will become a pilot without learning. Emergency actions taken by the pilot were the most appropriate in the situation. Blaming the pilot for not using proper proforma is ridiculous, as it is the one issued by DGCA.”
■ While the instructor started following the pupil on the cyclic, the helicopter pitched up. This hover was due to not improper handling of controls by the instructor.
■ The instructor followed his instincts instead of emergency procedures laid down in the manual, delaying the corrective action.
■ RWA doesn’t have an approved training/procedure manual.