GoAir Pilots Lost Sight Of Runway 50 Feet Above Surface, Landed On Grass; Suspended

The DGCA has suspended the pilots of GoAir G8-811 which was on a flight from Nagpur to Bengaluru on November 11, last year.

According to the DGCA, both GoAir pilots have accepted their error.

Highlights

  • Both pilots have accepted their error, aviation body DGCA said
  • The chief pilot has been suspended for 6 months, co-pilot for 3 months
  • The incident took place in 2019 on GoAir's Nagpur-Bengaluru flight
New Delhi:

A GoAir A-320 NEO with 146 passengers onboard was moments away from potential disaster when its flight crew lost sight of the runway just 50 feet above the surface of Bengaluru airport in foggy weather conditions.

Rather than abort the landing and 'go around', the pilot in command pressed ahead and touched down on the grassy surface to the left of the runway before applying full power to take off once again.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India's aviation regulator, has now suspended the pilots of GoAir Flight G8-811 which was on a flight from Nagpur to Bengaluru when the "serious incident" took place on November 11, last year.

According to the DGCA, "The crew lost visual reference at about 50 feet, however they continued to land which is in violation of requirements laid down." The DGCA also points out that the pilots of the airliner failed to position the aircraft along the centre-line of the runway as they made their approach to land. Instead, "the crew considered (a) wrong visual reference as runway centerline and maneuvered the aircraft to the left of Runway 09" in Bengaluru. During these critical moments of the flight, the co-pilot of the A-320 NEO "did not monitor (the) flight path deviation in the cockpit instruments (and) thus failed to give (a) call out for deviation." In other words, the co-pilot did not alert the pilot flying the aircraft of the glaring error being committed.

What happened next has been captured in a video shot by Shaafeeq Hamza, a passenger on the aircraft.  The video shows the A-320 NEO veering to the left of the runway to touch down on the grass. Photographs of the incident show marks left behind by the undercarriage of the aircraft on the grass as it accelerated to take off again. Other photographs show packed mud on the undercarriage of the aircraft.

According to the DGCA, both pilots have accepted their error. The pilot in command has been suspended from flying for a period of six months while his co-pilot has been suspended for three months.  

At the time of the incident, GoAir had said, "On Monday, 11th November 2019, GoAir Flight G8 811 from Nagpur to Bengaluru had carried out (a) go around at Bengaluru and diverted to Hyderabad. All the passengers, crew and aircraft landed safely at Hyderabad." 

The DGCA's inquiry and report now indicates the seriousness of just what happened.

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