Why did the helicopter carrying former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) crash? The report is out and it blames the pilot for an error in judgement when he was faced with bad weather.
The report adds that there were six crucial minutes which could have saved YSR.
It was a technical snag that distracted the crew and poor visibility in extreme weather conditions that led to the helicopter crash, the report says. The expert committee, that probed the September 2, 2009 crash, has said the accident probably occurred due to loss of control resulting in an uncontrolled descent at a very high speed.
The committee’s report says there were some contributing factors. For one, the crew flew in Instrument Flying conditions even though the flight plan was cleared for Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
Instrument Flying conditions are weather conditions in which pilots need to fly by referring to instruments rather than by outside visual references under the Visual Flight Rules.
Secondly, the crew noticed a snag and was engrossed for a vital six minutes before the impact in searching for the relevant checklist from the flight manual, the committee report says. This distracted them from the poor visibility weather conditions thus leading to loss of situational awareness.
The report and its safety recommendations are being considered by the government.
The Bell 430 helicopter (BT-APG) of the Andhra Pradesh Government had crashed on September 2, 2009, killing the Chief Minister and four other people.
The four-member Committee of Inquiry was set up by the government a day after the crash and on the day that YSR was discovered dead. The committee was headed by R K Tyagi, CMD, Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited and included senior aviation and air safety experts.
During the course of investigation, the investigation team undertook technical analysis at the crash site for evidence and also at the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corporation Limited (APACL) hanger in Hyderabad for reconstruction/tear-down analysis of various helicopter components and systems.