SHILLONG: The Indian Air Force today said it is always ready to assist the civil aviation sector in ensuring flight safety in the Northeast, which has witnessed a number of helicopter crashes recently, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said, "In case the civil aviation sector asks for any assistance from Indian Air Force, we are always there. Indian Air Force has high standards, and those could also be implemented in some of the civil operation sector in this area."
The most recent chopper accident occurred when a Pawan Hans helicopter went missing on August 4 with Tirap deputy commissioner Dr Kamlesh Kumar Joshi and pilots M S Brar and Rajeev Hoskote in Khonsa in Tirap district. All three of them died in the accident.
The Air Force chief said that apart from being engaged in post-crash rescue operation, the Air Force could also help 'prevent' air accidents.
"We don't want to be there only for rescue operation. We want to be there to prevent such accidents," Air Chief Marshal Raha told reporters at the Eastern Air Command Headquarter.
He pointed out that all five recent chopper crashes in Arunachal Pradesh were mostly caused by inclement weather, saying "We have to have the highest standards of safety implemented, Standard Operating Procedures followed and rules and regulations put in place in addition to proper monitoring..." "No amount of your skill, capability can protect you from weather. You have to be very, very careful in making decisions, whether to get airborne, fly that route or return for safety reasons," the Chief of Air Staff warned.
"What is required to prevent such accidents is very strict implementation of the Standard Operation Procedure. Indian Air Force has got very strict rules, yet we get involved in accidents in this area," Raha pointed out.
Noting that the Northeast was "getting top priority" from the IAF, he said that the Air Force has "lots of plans for the Northeast."
He said that a "large number of capable systems" and upgradation of ALGs in various parts were creating more manoeuvring areas in the region.