Off-duty pilot lands Pune to Delhi Indigo flight safely

Sushant Ranjan
Monday, 2 December 2019

The pilot, who was supposed to fly the aircraft was not trained in CAT IIIB, but at the same time, the pilot travelling as a passenger was a trained person.

PUNE: An Indigo flight from Pune to Delhi experienced an unusual situation when an off-duty pilot, travelling on the aircraft as a passenger, was called to handle a low visibility situation in Delhi and had to land the aircraft safely in low visibility at the IGI airport.

It so happened in a Pune-Delhi Indigo flight where the pilot, who was flying the plane, did not have the requisite qualification (CAT IIIB) to land an aircraft in fog at IGI airport in New Delhi. Thus, the passenger, who was a commercial pilot, swung into action and after getting the requisite permission from ATC, landed the aircraft safely at Delhi airport. The incident took place on Saturday morning. Indigo Flight 6E 6571 from Pune to Delhi was scheduled to take off at 7.30 am, but, it was delayed by 1 hour 20 minutes and arrived at Delhi airport at 11.16 am.

CAT III B is a technique under which some equipment is installed on the runway. With the help of the devices, the pilot landed the aircraft on the runway amid fog and low visibility. There is a shortage of CAT IIIB-trained pilots.

According to the source at the airline at Pune airport, “The pilot was tired and before take-off from Pune airport, he said that he was not CAT IIIB-trained pilot and will not safely land the aircraft at Delhi airport. However, one of the passengers requested to take off the flight. Before this, the airline had taken permission from the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to allow him to fly the aircraft. Meanwhile, the captain (passenger) had to go through all the examinations and later allowed to fly the aircraft.”

The highly-placed source from DGCA, New Delhi, said that they were aware of all the matters and will act as per the rule. “This morning (Saturday), Delhi Airport had implemented low visibility procedure. All incoming aircraft were expected to have Cat 3B crew. On flight 6E- 6571(PNQ-DEL), the assigned captain was not Cat 3B-cleared. Rather than delaying the flight and waiting for weather in Delhi to improve, another IndiGo Captain, who had cleared Cat 3B, was requested to operate this flight to avoid inconvenience. All necessary approvals were taken before changing the flight crew,” said Indigo. 

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