Indian authorities have suspended the license of a SpiceJet Boeing 737 captain after turbulence injured 15 passengers and crew and damaged parts of the interior on a May 1 flight. According to SimpleFlying, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) says the pilot elected to fly through an area of bad weather that other crews were avoiding, but a preliminary report by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch says the crew that flew the same plane immediately before the flight had snagged the weather radar.
The plane was on a flight from Mumbai to Dugapur and was on its descent when the turbulence hit. The aircraft recorded loads of +2.46G to -1.36G in the rough weather, and that caused overhead bins to spill their contents and for passengers and service items to be strewn around the cabin. Of those injured, most suffered cuts and bruises but two had serious injuries requiring hospitalization. The plane reportedly hit a “Kalbaisakhi,” which is a pre-monsoon storm that can result in severe thunderstorms and heavy rain.
“…a preliminary report by the Air Accidents Investigations Branch says the crew that flew the same plane immediately before the flight had snagged the weather radar.” Someone snagged the weather radar, as in took it with them after they shut down?
Snag = squawk in this context. India Times’ Economic Times online news posted this:
“According to the preliminary investigation report, on April 30, pilots of the aircraft, VT-SLH, while operating from Delhi to Kolkata, found that the radar was not depicting the weather correctly. Following landing at Kolkata, the commander of the aircraft made an entry of the issue in the pilot defect report (PDR).
While an aircraft maintenance engineer stationed in Kolkata carried out an operational test of the radar and found it to be satisfactory, the crew of the aircraft during its next flight from Kolkata to Mumbai found the same problem with the weather radar.
“The weather radar was not showing the intensity and extent of the actual weather. It was painting a very small picture of the weather which could be misleading. After landing at Mumbai, the flight crew made (an) entry in the PDR that while the weather radar was serviceable, it was not displaying weather (conditions) at all in air,” the draft report says.
A maintenance engineer in Mumbai informed the Maintenance Control Centre (MCC) about the snag. The engineer was told that they were aware about the reliability issue and that there was a shortage of high-cost spares like weather radar, according to the draft report.”
I am assuming that this wasn’t a VFR flight. With that assumption, I am sure that said pilot was talking to ATC, and that perhaps someone told him about the bad weather on his flight path?
Dispatching an aircraft with a known unreliable radar in bad WX is unacceptable, and the Capt that accepts it equally so.
title should be “Pilot suspended after flying an unairworthy aircraft which caused injuries due to turbulence”