THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Can any similarity be drawn between the runway excursion that happened at the Calicut airport on August 4, 2017, and the one that happened on Friday? Whether the investigation launched by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation finds similarities or picks clues from the past incident will be interesting to see.
Ironically, both 'safety occurrences' happened on Runway (RWY) 10. The 2017 incident did not lead to any casualty as the aircraft got back on the runway -- after having veered off with its right wheel moving along soft land -- before coming to a halt.
"Some similarities are there between the two incidents," an officer with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told The New Indian Express.
"In both cases, pilots requested permission to land on RWY 10 though RWY 28 was in use. Also, there was moderate rain over the airfield."
In the final report on the 2017 incident, which came out only recently, DGCA highlighted that the aircraft (of SpiceJet) veered off to the right of RWY 10 after touchdown and impacted the runway edge lights. The investigation cited the excessive rudder input by the pilot in command (PIC) to bring the aircraft to the runway centreline while landing in wet conditions as the probable cause of the runway excursion.
"Another similarity is that in the 2017 incident, the plan was for the pilot under training (P2) to fly the sector completely. But as the rain was moderate, the PIC (P1) decided to make the landing in consultation with P2. The same is supposed to be the case with the Air India Express aircraft involved in the crash on Friday night. As Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe is much more experienced than the first officer, Captain Akhilesh Kumar, he might have taken control," the officer added.
What other scenarios will be explored?
DGCA will examine whether possibilities like rudder jam, rudder pedal stiffness, nose wheel steering fault or skidding due to rubber deposits on runway resulted in the mishap.