NEW DELHI: ‘Arrester barrier’ on Gwalior runway left in erect position while clearing a Madhya Pradesh Beechcraft to land there had led to the aircraft crashing on May 6, 2021. Three persons were on board the state government aircraft reportedly transporting Covid drug remdesivir from Indore and had suffered injuries while the aircraft was badly damaged on this defence airfield.
These barriers are used as arresting solutions for combat aircraft (ensure they safely stop) in case of emergencies during landing overrun or aborted take-off.
While the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) is still probing this accident, it has released interim safety recommendations for commercial aircraft operators to avoid such occurrences in the future at defence airfields during night operations. India has a large number of defence airfields that are used for commercial flights like Pune, Goa, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Hindon. This includes double checking that the arrester barriers are not erect.
“Madhya Pradesh government Beechcraft Super King Air B200 GT aircraft (VT-MPQ) was involved in an accident during landing at Gwalior on May 6, 2021. The investigation is under progress by AAIB. As per available information, the crew requested for runway change while approaching to land at Gwalior airfield. The aircraft was cleared to land, however, the arrester barrier was left in erected position,” says a safety bulletin issued by DGCA based on AAIB’s “precautions while landing on defence airfield and during night.”
The interim safety recommendations for crew of commercial flights operating at defence airfields include advising crew to preferably carry out “instrument approach” at night and giving visual approach last preference (except while conducting training flights to build proficiency in visual approach).
“During night time in case flight crew chooses to carry out a visual approach, then the approach should be carried out after coming overhead. Flight crew should utilise all available landing aids… till crossing the runway threshold. All aircraft operators are required to take note of these recommendations and take appropriate action including reassessing operational documents. In addition while requesting for runway change at defence airfields, the crew should ensure all the requirement for safe landing including the position of arrester barrier are met,” the DGCA safety circular says.


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