BENGALURU: There were some tense moments when smoke was noticed in Chief Minister Siddarmaiah’s helicopter before take-off at the HAL airport on Saturday.
Siddaramaiah, Home Minister K J George, PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa and CM’s joint secretary T Ramaiah were on board at the time and were scheduled to fly to Mysuru.
The chopper was grounded following smoke being noticed in the rear of the chopper during the warm-up tests. Captain Unnikrishnan who was in charge of the chopper stopped it after ground staff informed him about the smoke. Following Unnikrishnan’s advice against using the chopper, Siddarmaiah proceeded to Mysuru by road.
Unnikrishnan told Express that smoke was normally seen during take-off and landing and not when the chopper was on ground.
“It was unusual. So we immediately decided to give the copter a complete check,” he said. He added that they were unable to find any fault with the engine or other parts of the chopper.
“We decided not to fly the Chief Minister though there was nothing wrong with the chopper during the check-up after the smoke was detected,” Unnikrishnan said.
Jagdeesh, Superintendent of Police for CM’s Security, however, said that the smoke was caused due to a short circuit.Unnikrishnan informed the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation and other authorities concerned about the technical snag and the decision to cancel the scheduled flight. Siddaramaiah has been using the Eurocopter EC135, a twin-engine civil helicopter belonging to Delhi-based Prabhatam Aviation Pvt Ltd, since October 2014.