Storm in the Sky for Airlines
Prof. N.K. Singh
A jet plane of Air Asia flying from Indonesia to Singapore disappeared from the radar midway . Anyone can be touched by his daughter message on twitter ‘papa come back I need you’. But the plane could not be tracked for days. In the times when Man has accessed the path to Mars and may soon land there it is shocking that in aviation we do not still know how to track it fast? The Airbus 320air plane was carrying161 people including crew and likely to reach Singapore on 8.20 AM while it vanished at 7.24 AM over the java sea. The airline had a clean accident free record and operating in different countries so far without any mishap. The pilot was experienced and the plane was serviced in November only. Sudden weather change and a cumulous cloud thick enough with turbulence was encountered on the way .Pilot asked for change in altitude to avoid the fierce storm as he was flying at 32000 and wanted to go to 38000. It was denied by the Indonesian control perhaps due to the reason that similar condition prevailed in higher level as some reports put the trouble upto 40000ft. There was no distress or emergency call or signal from the aircraft. After this last contact the plane perhaps plunged in the sea as reported by some sources. Air Asia is operating 169 Airbuses and the plane has safety record of 0.4 accidents. The airline is considered the world’s best low cost airline.
This is third time in current year that three accidents have taken place. First was Malaysian airline plane MH370 which was flying from Malaysia to China but on the way disappeared. Worldwide search has been carried out by all countries in the region but no trace of this plane has been found. It remains the biggest mystery of aviation that a large plane MH370 carrying 227 people is still untraced. The twinjet plane uses fly by wire technology and computer controlled and designed. It is 242 ft in length and still found nowhere. Second air disaster pertains to Mh 17 that was carrying 298 passengers and was shot down above Ukraine. Third one is concerning Air Asia that has also its head quarters in Malaysia.
Two disasters of Malaysian airlines in March and second in July were in quick succession. Now the third one in Asia is adding a new dimension to discussion if there is some cultural factor like metric system and imperial system being followed in different parts of the world. This was the cause of Korean airline accidents earlier but in two cases above the same cannot be definitely stated. As far as Ukraine incident is concerned it was nothing to do with airlines as it was due to war zone activity and the plane should have been warned not to overfly the area.
Whatever trouble in the sky the plane MH370 is considered safe and the pilots were experienced. The air traffic is not still more dangerous that road or sea yet it is most unpardonable as no error can go unpunished. Today aviation is safe and such incidents do shake the passenger confidence yet these are rare occurrences and in this case as in one year in quick succession Asian regtion has faced it the situation seems worth pondering to creatge more tracking system and Pilot Tower communication.
I too faced two air accidents during my tenure in aviation but in both cases it was luck that favored us as there was no loss of human life. An Air France plane overshot the runway and crashed. Although the plane was written off yet passengers were safe and even cat was found in good shape. Another plane coming from Chandigarh landed on belly as the under carriage was not opened and this could have resulted in fire but our fire fighting system worked in time and passengers were saved. One of the passengers happened to be my friend Bishen Singh Bedi, ace bowler who thanked all of us but above all Wahe Guru. I too thanked God and when many people saw me on TV channels attributing good escape to Bhagwan they asked me how I have developed faith in God as they always thought I am atheist. I told them that there are things which are beyond man and one remembers Him when such miracles take place.
First Passenger: What gift Santa Claus could give to unemployed youth of Himachal this year?
Second Passenger: Perhaps leaked paper of government recruitment test.