Slippery runway, sturdy tailwind doubtless brought about Kozhikode crash: Experts

Chennai, August 8

A lethal mixture of a slippery runway, sturdy tailwind, unhealthy climate circumstances, and touchdown forward of the edge spot might have resulted within the skidding of the ill-fated Air India Express in Kozhikode that claimed 18 lives, two aviation specialists stated on Saturday.

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An Air India Express plane flying in from Dubai skidded off the runway whereas touchdown at Kozhikode on Friday night and plunged into the deep valley beneath. At least 18 folks had been killed, together with two pilots, and tons of injured.

The plane carrying 190 individuals, together with six crew members, battled heavy rain whereas touchdown at 7.41 pm on Friday, and careered off the runway after touchdown on the table-top airport.

“It may be due to lack of friction between the tyres and the runway. There may be the factor of hydroplaning due to waterlogging,” a pilot not desirous to be quoted instructed IANS.

Hydroplaning is a situation wherein presence of water causes a shifting wheel to lose contact with the load-bearing floor, the runway on this case. This makes braking or manoeuvring of the automobile (airplane), unattainable. Hence, the plane’s velocity couldn’t be diminished after touchdown, the pilot stated.

Speaking to IANS, a former Indian Air Force (IAF) navigator identified that the usual 9,000-feet Kozhikode runway will not be a difficulty for this type of plane.

“Probably, the pilot landed ahead of the threshold or the usual spot, owing to bad visibility, strong tailwind, and a slippery runway—all odds were stacked against him,” the previous navigator stated.

“With a reduction in distance available to bring the plane to a halt, the pilot would have to literally sit on the brakes with full reverse engine power. The ditch at the end of the runway must have been on his mind. The slippery runway seems to have done the rest,” he added.

According to him, it was “bad luck” and maybe “error of judgement” on a part of the pilot that led to the tragedy. — IANS

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