New Delhi: Technical trouble grounded an Air
India plane and forced another to make a priority landing in Delhi
on Wednesday, prompting a pilots` union to warn that its members
would henceforth operate only a completely snag-free aircraft.
Pilots of Pune-bound flight AI-849, which was ready for
take-off with 122 people on board, found during routine checks
that the flight management and guidance systems were faulty
and the auto-pilot was non-functional, airport sources said.
The pilots, Commander Captain Jalaj Vats and co-pilot
Captain Amit Tyagi, refused to fly the faulty Airbus A-320
plane and informed the airline officials, who asked them to
change the aircraft.
After a delay of about two-and-a-half hours, they got a
similar aircraft that had just returned from a major check.
When they took off for Pune, the aircraft`s landing gear
got jammed while being retracted. Fault also occurred in the
plane`s auto-pilot and auto-thrust system which controls the
power of the engines and the flight director, they said.
Sensing the situation, the pilots decided to return to
Delhi and sought permission for priority landing from the air
traffic control and landed safely.
Taking strong exception to such incidents, major pilot`s
body -- Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) -- shot
off a letter to Air India management quoting reports relating
to flight safety.
"ICPA takes a pledge to provide a safe environment for the
safety and security of the innocent flying passengers by
operating aircraft which are completely snag-free," ICPA
President Captain AS Bhinder said in the letter.