Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has suspended the licenses of GoAir pilots who landed the Nagpur-Bengaluru flight on November 11, 2019, even after they lost visual reference when the aircraft was 50ft above the runway.
The crew considered a wrong visual reference as the centre line of the runway and consequently, manoeuvred the aircraft to the left of the runway at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport. The aircraft then veered off the runway.
“The crew lost visual reference at about 50 feet, however, they continued to land which is in violation of requirements laid down…” the DGCA statement says. “The crew considered wrong visual reference as runway centerline and maneuvered the aircraft to the left of Runway 09. The first officer did not monitor flight path deviation in the cockpit instruments thus failed to give a call out for deviation.”
The statement added a show-cause notice was sent to the captain as well as the co-pilot, and that the two pilots had accepted their mistake in writing. The DGCA then suspended the FATA (foreign aircrew temporary authorisation) held by the first pilot for a period of six months and the license held by the co-pilot for a period of three months from the date of the incident.
The incident took place in November 2019, where GoAir flight VT-WGR, landed off the runway at the Bengaluru airport amidst bad weather conditions. The aircraft carrying 170 passengers, which was plying between Nagpur and Bengaluru, had to initiate a go-around and land in Hyderabad after the incident. However, on landing the plane began veering off the runway and onto the grass-covered strip of land on one side of the runway.
During the go-around process, one of the engines stalled. The DGCA probe had concluded that after landing at Hyderabad, mud deposit had been found on the left landing gear, indicating that aircraft has rolled on an unpaved surface. Pending the DGCA probe, the two pilots were kept off flying duty.
The DGCA on Tuesday issued warning letters to over 150 GoAir pilots and also to the carrier’s head of operations. The DGCA issued these notices after conducting an audit of GoAir’s flight and duty time limitations to check if the company was making its pilots fly for more than the allowed 1,000 hours in a year and if they were made to fly more than two consecutive flights at night.
The DGCA had alleged that the carrier was violating safety norms, which led to pilot fatigue.