New Delhi: A day after an Air India Express flight from Dubai crash-landed at the Calicut airport, being split into two, killing at least 18 people, including both the pilots, several theories surfaced as what could have led to the massive crash. And those theories were not like everyday WhatsApp forwards as several experts and politicians shared them on social media platforms. Reacting to those, Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who visited the crash site on Saturday, urged people to stop speculating as a probe is already underway and the findings of the results will be made public. Also Read - Indian Airlines Seeking Interest-free Credit Line of at Least USD 1.5 Billion: Aviation Minister Puri
So, what are the speculation and what we know so far Also Read - Kozhikode Plane Crash: Supreme Court Issues Notice to Centre Over Runway Safety
1. Several red flags have been issued in the past over the security aspects of the Calicut airport, a tabletop airport. It was raining heavily when the ill-fated flight landed after attempts were made to land on another runway. Also Read - No Service in Containment zones, Only Asymptomatics Allowed: Centre Issues SOPs on Metro Services
2. DGCA has hinted at the pilots’ fault as the plane was at a high speed when the crash took place. But Deepak Sathe was one of the most experienced pilots of Air India. It was not his first time on the same runway. As per records, the pilot hand landed on this runway 27 times. He had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience. Co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar was also the pilot of the first Vande Bharat flight between Dubai and Kozhikode which landed in Kozhikode on May 8.
3. There was no visibility which resulted in the overshooting of the runway. The reported visibility due to rains at the time of landing was 2,000 metres. The total length of the runway is 2,700 metres.
4. There were several red flags but Kozhikode International Airport is one of the busiest airports in India. Airports Authority of India chairman Arvind Singh said prior to COVID-19, there were around 70 departures as well as 70 arrivals at the Kozhikode airport on a daily basis. After domestic flights resumed on May 25, there have been 10 departures and 10 arrivals every day.
5. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued a show-cause notice to the director of the Kozhikode airport on July 11 last year after it found “various critical safety lapses” in different places, including the runway and the apron.
6. Raising such concerns is DGCA’s routine work.
7. All issues such as excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation and cracks that were red-flagged by aviation regulator DGCA in the past were “addressed and rectified” by the Kozhikode airport operator, the minister said.
The black box of the flight, which holds clues of the accident, is now with the investigation team. The digital flight data recorder (DFDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) jointly make up the “black box” in an aircraft.
The DFDR keeps a record of data from plane’s systems like airspeed, altitude and fuel flow. A good quality DFDR can store up to 25 hours of flight data. The CVR keeps a recording of all the conversations taking place in a plane’s cockpit. A good quality CVR can store up to two hours of voice data.
Once recovered after the aircraft crash, the black box gives ample flight data and voice recording to the investigators to find out what led to the accident.