An inquiry into technical problems in a flight carrying Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in April has ruled out prior glitches in the aircraft and has blamed delayed action by the pilots for the incident. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday released a report of a two-member committee looking into the matter.
The panel was appointed to investigate why a flight carrying Gandhi from New Delhi to Hubballi in Karnataka on April 26 suddenly tilted heavily on one side and its altitude dipped steeply.
The 30-page report submitted by the regulator ruled out a prior glitch in the Ligare Aviation-operated private Falcon 2000 jet. “The crew initiated action only when the master cautions warning, that is after 15 seconds of autopilot disengage,” the report said. “Due to lack of institutional awareness, the crew actions to [take] control of the aircraft manually were slightly delayed.”
The panel suggested that cockpit crew undergo corrective training and that a regulatory audit be conducted to monitor compliance regulations.
Following the incident ahead of the Assembly elections in Karnataka, the Congress had demanded a thorough investigation, suggesting that the aircraft’s controls could have been tampered with. In its police complaint, the party had said the plane “shuddered violently, tilted to one side, dipped in altitude steeply and made cranking noises throughout”.