New Delhi: A day after its chopper carrying
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu went missing,
state-run helicopter company Pawan Hans on Sunday announced
suspension of commercial operations in the northeast.
"In view of the missing helicopter, Pawan Hans Helicopters
Limited (PHHL) has put on hold its commercial operations in
the northeast for the time being so that these helicopters are
available for search and rescue and the DGCA reviews the
current situation," a Pawan Hans official said.
In a statement, PHHL`s DGM (Engineering) Sanjeev Razdan
said the chopper carrying Khandu, Eurocopter-built AS350 B3,
was brand new and acquired in mid-2010.
The aircraft had a certificate of airworthiness from DGCA
which was valid till July 2015 and "no discrepancies were
found in respect to maintenance of this helicopter," he said.
It also had the latest technologies like, automatic
starting system, First Limit Indicator, latest Emergency
Locator Transmitter (ELT), Vehicle and Engine malfunction
display and radio altimeter.
Its ELT operated on twin frequencies of 243 MHz and 406
MHz and its signal could be picked up by an ISRO satellite or
any over-flying aircraft.
"Till date, the helicopter had flown 306 hours and done
577 landings, most of which in the northeast sector," he
The PHHL official said Captain J S Babbar and Captain TS
Mamik were well qualified and had experience of around 4,000
and 3,200 flying hours respectively.
Both of them had the experience of flying in hilly terrain
and were cleared for Special Visual Flight Rules (VFR)
operations, Razdan said.
Pawan Hans has set up a special round-the-clock control
room at PHHL headquarters here to coordinate and monitor the
search and rescue operations.
Yesterday, Meghalaya had suspended the helicopter services
of Pawan Hans hours after the Arunachal Pradesh Chief
Minister`s chopper went missing.
He said as soon as PHHL came to know about the helicopter
going missing, the company`s emergency response actions were
launched and expressed hope that the Chief Minister and all
others on board were "safe and return home early".