Looks quite severe.
I'm impressed the plane flew for 3 hours without getting destablized and crashing....
Air India has the worst safety reputation in India, and several accidents / incidents. I flew Spice Jet a few times over the last few weeks when I was there visiting. Spice Jet is like India's Virgin America. Service was excellent and I did not experience any issues while flying.
In 4hrs, they could have landed in Dubai itself easily
Being Indian, I agree with statement about AirIndia. I would never fly in AirIndia even if the ticket price is too low, laughably they usually cost way above than any other competitors.
What happened in 4hrs to divert back to Mumbai is still mystery. Will be interesting to see full report
I also suspect it was better for the crew to end their last airline flight as crew in their home country...
A few years ago, was on a Delta flight out of Detroit to Boston. Over halfway to Boston, we turned back as the airplane had a maintenance issue that Delta wanted to deal with at DTW rather than BOS. (They do have a permanent presence at BOS, but a larger one at DTW.)
In this case, it's not about the FAA. An military base can choose not to prosecute once they investigate, but don't assume that they are just fine with strangers landing. Emergencies can be staged and, as stated, if there are sensitive combat and intel operations ongoing then it will be a serious incident.
This is no different than calling search and rescue to save your life, and then getting a bill afterwards. Still an emergency, and still has consequences.
It is a crap shoot, based on optics, and partially based on real data. You have to hope your investigator, or boss, sees the data the same way you did....
You made the opposite choice, lose your airframe and your life, and then you should 'clearly' have made the other decision, because the data's in...
1. You would not want to ascend to flight level 360 (particularly with a damaged plane).
2. You would not want to leave the vicinity of an airport (particularly with a damaged plane).
Nothing gets better at FL360 in this situation if your intention all along was to divert.
Since I have flown with Air India, would you mind being more specific? Are the statistics? My flights were okay. Okay, zero status miles credited at Star Alliance and a bit stingy with alcohol on board. But food and service was good, plane looked well maintained.
Please tell me more.
In flight entertainment.
I book 90% of my flights on Vayama, so no problem here.
I once decided to book direct only on airline websites to make a possible ticket change easier and cheaper. The one time I tried it I had serious trouble. VPN blocked by airline, based in China, google captcha required which requires a VPN etc. I tried the booking process 4 times until I bought a ticket on Vayama. Later got an email from the airline ("your ticket got issued") so I ended up with two tickets for the same flight. I emailed them and they reimbursed the money. It was Sri Lanka airlines.
When I last checked, their website literally did not work (clicking the booking button after entering your details took you to a 404 not found page)
It's a disaster of an airline, especially when cheaper options such as Indigo are way more punctual
I don’t think we have enough information yet to establish whether excessive weight was a factor.
That is not a maneuver a pilot with a known-damaged aircraft would make to burn off fuel.
What is the mysterious ILS that was hit?
Even after reading the Wikipedia article, I only have a vague idea - seems to be a radar system, both on ground and in the air. Did the plane hit a radar tower?
The ground portion of an ILS consists of two antenna arrays, one at the end of the runway called the localizer, and one just off to the side called the glideslope. These arrays produce two fan-shaped signals that vary left-to-right and up-and-down in such a way that an aircraft can determine its location relative to the runway with remarkable precision. The localizer signal provides lateral guidance to the runway centerline, while the glideslope provides vertical guidance down to the touchdown zone, usually on a 3° glidepath. One or both of these arrays is what this airplane ran into.
The system is passive, in that the signals are simply broadcast from the ground continuously, aren’t unique to a particular aircraft, and there is no return or response from aircraft. The ground antennas simply “shout into the void” as it were, and aircraft receivers determine their location based purely on the shape of the signals at the aircraft’s location in space.
For illustration here is a localizer antenna (though note that the airplane in this picture is “backwards,” i.e. the localizer for a given runway is at the far end of the runway, though it is possible to “fly the backcourse” and land with one at the near end): https://image.slidesharecdn.com/instrumentlandingsystemils-1...
And here is a glideslope antenna: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8f/56/b3/8f56b3b52fb9b81c84f7...
Here's a good one: https://youtu.be/FeELh0kMSIA
How many articles posted here on HN tell you what a CPU is? Or a pointer? Or a container? And that's just to pick a few common terms. News about a certain topic will build on the assumption that the basic concepts related to it are already known to the reader.
The situation in the article can be very well explained in layman's terms. Most people know enough of the ground-world and air-world to understand how things hit and what's important about hits.
However, the article uses an overly specific term, and on top of that, it overloads it with a meaning which is not the one found in literature. Notice that Wikipedia's diagram of "ILS" shows it as an airport-sized system made of several components, none of which is called "ILS".
This doesn't make understanding possible, unless you know what "ILS" means in the lingo.
In IT terms, this is akin to saying "A sysadmin tripped over a CISC and fell". To someone familiar to the terms, this translates to "someone tripped over a silicon chip with a CPU, most likely an Intel".
Meanwhile, a layman would look up "CISC" on Wikipedia and be confused about whether someone trippped over a computer box, an instruction set, or a processor. All of this is confusing and irrelevant to the point, which can be understood by anyone: someone tripped over a few cm wide piece of silicon.
Back to the aviation article: "A plane hit a few meter high tower housing an ILS antenna." conveys all the information, but doesn't leave anyone in the cold.
I stand by my initial complaint: any speech that obscures the actual topic behind lingo available only to a small group of people should stay in that small group or improve.
These days, with the internet at everyone's fingertips, I find it very hard to understand the "I couldn't find what it means" explanation when a simple search for ILS returns some pretty clear explanations on Wikipedia or Quora on the very first results page. No need to even click a link. And if you do click you get pictures, explanations, everything you could want including how they can be hit :
>> A localiser antenna. Point of interest: In case of an aircraft over-running the runway, it is the localiser antenna which gets smashed!
And keep in mind that FlightRadar24 is not a site for the laymen. It's for people with an explicit interest in aviation and there's a definite assumption that you understand these concepts. Perhaps other sources were clearer. Just like it's assumed you know what ADS-B, kts, or FL(350/360) are. They aim for a different audience.
It's all speculation at this point.
Usually there ought to be more than one locking mechanism involved, though..?
Suppose your plane seat hasn’t locked. You taxi around to the runway (slow and always level), then you begin the takeoff run. Already, you have some acceleration pulling back. Then you gently pull back the yoke to rotate. Now, suddenly your seat slides back. You hold onto the yoke, stall, and die. Or you let go off the yoke, and now the plane is unpiloted in the crucial take-off phase. And, note, stopping is not an option at this point.
That’s why vigorously thrashing around in your seat is part of the before-takeoff checklist (“Seat - LOCKED”).
Also, what about adjusting the steering wheel while driving? Sounds like a similar threat.
And because it would be less likely fatal in the car, so you'd be less likely to hear of it happening.
(Less likely fatal because car collisions are less fatal due to e.g. airbags, and less likely to impact terrain since it only takes a second to undo your car seatbelt, and because there's no pitch control to have messed up.)
"Serious" is still not the same as "fatal", even if your car hits something. If your plane stalls and falls hundreds of feet, my understanding is that the fatality rate is going to approximate 100%.
Those passengers just won the lottery.
That said, I'm not sure I am on board with the explanation. It could just be that with everything going on in a cockpit it wasn't noticed.
If a fever can, wouldn’t alcohol do the same?
Metabolism in aircraft is pretty low: you’re generally sitting idle, but I think the alcohol metabolism is still constant except the terminal metabolism.
Fever is partly metabolism, but largely reduced cooling.
My oxygen % decreased initially with altitude until it stabilised around 90-92% (at ~10k feet, IIRC). It sat at this point for the whole flight (8 hours), with a low of 87%.
Through forced rapid deep breaths I could get it back up into the mid-high 90s, but also got light headed and funny looks.
Moving around the cabin would also raise it.
The cargo area of most airliners is not pressurized, so the gash is not an immediate problem.
In a case like this, the pilots would want to climb to several thousand feet and evaluate the situation before landing.
Looks like the pilot did a great job once it was realized the airplane was damaged of remaining calm and flying the airplane.
A famous example of this is American Airlines flight 96 (1972): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_Flight_96
The thing that doesn't need to happen is flying at full flight altitude when the pressure differential between the inside and outside is greatest.
Still, you don’t want to take a structurally damaged plane high up.
I'm not a pilot, but I'm 100% sure V1 means you can't safely abort the takeoff, _not_ that you're committed to the remainder of the flight.
Also, the ILS is at the end of the runway, they were surely airborne by this point (i.e. past V2), so I'm not sure why you even brought up V1 in this discussion.
In fact, I can't imagine being so low at the end of the runway. At somewhere like Midway (MDW), you'd almost certainly hit a house, at the very very least the perimeter fence.
> In a case like this, the pilots would want to climb to several thousand feet and evaluate the situation before landing.
I'm fairly certain that in an emergency situation you don't "evaluate the situation". Short of actually being unable to fly, you have to take off after V1. If there is any issue whatsoever, you alert the tower and begin to come around to do an emergency landing using "normal" emergency procedures.
The accelerate stop distance is the distance it takes to accelerate to V1, reject the takeoff, and stop the aircraft. V1 is in KIAS (knots of indicated airspeed). ASD is in feet/meters.
You are correct that passing V1, the aircraft is committed to fly unless an emergency relating to controllability surfaces.
FO: Tower said we hit something, may have damage.
Capt: Just close, we'll be okay.
FA: We heard a thump, and so did the passengers.
CA: Just a noise, we'll be okay.
Dispatch on ACARS: You hit the localizer and wall past the far end, you morons. Descend, lower your cabin diff pressure, and GTF to Mumbai.
CA: How do we explain this?
FO: Ask the passengers for newspapes, we must find new jobs..
Given the apparent structural damage, that was a risky decision.
I don't see how this could happen without the pilots noticing; they would have been skimming the ground well past the end of the runway.
I'm even more surprised that the plane could land on its own wheels despite the huge gash in the fuselage. Do landing gears retract so quickly, or was the wall simply not wide enough?
Airliners have enough power to lose an engine at a decision speed (V1) while still on the runway and on the one remaining engine continue to accelerate on the runway to rotation and eventually liftoff speed and still clear obstacles. There is no mention of an engine loss causing this issue (and surely the airplane wouldn't launch for FL360 with one engine INOP), so this almost has to be a mis-set takeoff thrust accident as, with both engines set for proper takeoff thrust, it's rare to use more than 2/3 of the runway and the initial climb is brisk due to the large excess of power a turbojet engine has at sea level.
I also think the wall is lower than the ILS gear, so probably that is what made the gash in the belly of the plane. Amazed that nothing serious was cut.
I cannot believe the pilots were completely unaware, I mean just reaching the end of the runway without having pulled up must be a never-in-your-career kind of scary moment.
From my limited experience of pilots, this seems entirely unlike the kind of behaviour you'd expect - they're usually conservative when it comes to safety or is that just the projected image to reassure the public?!
Also, more automated, single-pilot/ground operated or pilotless aircraft can’t come soon enough.
including Hong Kong?
(Note that HK is considered part of East Asia.)
See here for some news articles on the ATC centre:
Hull loss rates by region of operator per million departures (Jet / Turboprop) 2012-2016: 
- 2.21 / 7.38 Africa
- 1.17 / 20.59 CIS
- 0.74 / 3.42 Middle East / North Africa
- 0.53 / 1.55 Latin America / Caribbean
- 0.48 / 1.45 Asia Pacific
- 0.22 / 0.98 North America
- 0.14 / 0.73 Europe
- 0.00 / 8.73 North Asia
India falls below Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan in air safety audit
>The audit — ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme — seeks to identify if countries have effectively and consistently implemented the critical elements of a safety-oversight system.
>India is one of the 15 countries that are below the minimum target rates.
This is the IATA data for hull loss rates for 2017 per million departures:
Asia Pacific - 0.18
CIS - 0.92
Europe - 0.13
Latin America and the Caribbean - 0.41
Middle East and North Africa - 0.00
North America - 0.00
The second link does not mention or link to anything about hull loss, safety issues, aircraft, training but talks about lower ranking due to ATC licensing by government agencies.
The first is the bulk loss stats.
The second is an article discussing India's poor audit results in the ICAO safety audit, per the quote above the link and sourced to it.
I'm not sure how you can claim that the second link doesn't "link to anything about hull loss, safety issues, aircraft, training". It is the result of an independent safety audit by the ICAO, which encompasses licensing, operations, airworthiness, and a number of other categories.
GP poster was quite clear that the two pieces of data were from different sources, and the five-year data shows clear trends (though with
Asiana missing a landing in SFO on a perfectly clear day is one example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiana_Airlines_Flight_214
Cultures where hierarchy prevails over CRM and recent graduates can recall page 243 of the manual but can't do a visual landing in a perfect day are also dangerous.
About aviation in India, two recent incidents:
Jet Airways 9W-697 where crew apparently "forgot" to pressurize the plane. http://avherald.com/h?article=4bded8e6&opt=0
Air India AI-676 had "inexplicable loss of performance". Crew "forgot" to retract the landing gear: http://avherald.com/h?article=4ac18ec7&opt=0
When using anecdotal data one just can't make sweeping judgements and conclusions data does not support, that takes discussion into the region of prejudice and bigotry.
This anecdotal one person usually 'an insider' finding one thing wrong or incident in some country and casually conflating it to the whole is seen too often and creates grossly inaccurate stereotypes, when the exact same issue or incident exists everywhere else.
This is not harmless and derails informed discussion. It creates prejudice and in this case stress among travelers when they travel to other countries thinking about 'training, hull loss, safety' based on uninformed discussion not supported by data on the ground. If you are going to travel in a Cessna the standards including pilot training is not comparable to jets whichever country you are in. But no stable functioning country in the world takes passenger and running jets casually as the accident and safety data shows.
Your second link is exactly the same kind of anecdotal BS you're complaining about - a list compiled by English-speaking editors on a Western-centric website of pilot errors they've personally heard about.
Discussion with actual numbers is here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18206505
For all we know Africa has the best pilots in the world but the crappiest airframes, or fantastic pilots and awesome airframes but their maintenance is atrocious.
I'm not saying I find that especially plausible, but until these numbers are at the very least adjusted for hull loss rates by region of operator per million departures per age of airframe we're comparing apples to oranges.
North America - 0.00
And it ends there. No mention of any problems or concern for 'safety limits' for any region. Infact the IATA data is overall happy with the rates across regions. If you can find anything on that page that points out a problem for a specific region please link to it.
The link includes a comparison with the previous year (2016) - onboard fatalities were ~90% lower and jet hull losses were ~75% lower. You're cherry-picking a very atypical year.
That first link tells you little without knowing the denominator for each country. How many flights did they have over that period of time?
And it covers more than 70 years, which is way too long to tell us whether a country or region has a bad safety record today...maybe America had 99% of its crashes in 1945, whereas the other countries on the list had all of theirs last year.
This does not seem like normal behavior from an airline pilot at all. I can see about 10% of private pilots doing something like this. It would probably be someone who has been flying a long time and gotten way too comfortable. Things always work out, so why not this time? The difference with an airline is its incredibly public flying. Even if the pilots disregard everyone’s safety (including their own) they know that they’ll be caught. You do something dumb and it’s going to be on the news, even if it all works out. How many of us can say that about or jobs?
The fact that the crew thought that this was a risk worth taking reflects really poorly on the safety culture of that airline. They thought that flying an airplane that was compromised some unknown amount was worth keeping the schedule going (or maybe people just wouldn’t find out?). That idea got informed somehow.
... by their desire to overwrite the CVR??
Obviously the plane had issues getting off the ground. Probably because it was too heavy. Typically, pilots calculate a speed beyond which they can no longer safely abort the takeoff. Beyond that speed, the plane is basically going to fly or shoot off the runway and crash. That point is decided based on weight, wind, runway length, etc. It's entirely possible mistakes were made with that or with loading the plane. Maybe there was some wind shear as well, which could explain a sudden drop or unexpected challenges getting off the ground.
Usually the co-pilot's job is to call these speeds out and if either of them calls to abort, there is supposed to be no discussion or debate on this and pilots are trained to act right away because every second counts. Obviously that did not happen
So, the pilots were not aware of issues before the abort speed (or they should have aborted) and committed to getting off the ground. I'm sure the in cockpit recordings will be part of the investigation. They sort of succeeded in the sense that they hit some objects but ultimately did not crash and got off the ground. Their climb rate must have been terrible. Usually the gear comes up as soon as you have a positive rate of climb (reduces drag). I imagine they called gear up seconds after leaving the ground before they hit anything even and the gear was likely transitioning.
Wind shear could have caused enough change in airspeed to cause the plane to not climb or even descend a bit. A heavy plane would have used up most of the runway in any case.
They then proceeded with what looks like normal procedure to get to altitude. Presumably they would have almost climbed out and changed frequencies from tower to local traffic controllers after 20-30 seconds or so. Recordings of that are going to be interesting. Presumably the damage to the ILS equipment would not have been noticed right away on the ground and people would have needed some time to figure out what the hell happened and what caused it and what plane hit it. Likewise the damage to the wall would not have been reported right away. By then the plane would have transitioned out of their area.
The question is whether the pilots noticed that they hit any objects and what the communication was with these controllers on this. The plane would have been pitched up (restricts visibility to the ground in front of you) and the damage occurred pretty far behind the pilots. So they may not have seen the obstacles immediately in front of them or heard/felt hitting them. These planes are big and heavy and there's lots of noise and vibrations when a plane takes off.
The damage looks dramatic but you wouldn't be able to see it until after the landing. Obviously the plane was flying and climbing and cruising normally. And they also landed safely. So flight operations seem to not have been directly affected. So, I can see them concluding that they had a stressful takeoff but had gotten in the air successfully. Then some time later they got the news that they hit some obstacles and that there is probably damage to the plane.
The big question is why that took 3 hours. I imagine it involved a lot of communication on the ground.
As some of the others have mentioned, the reason the plane survived is likely because that was not a pressurised area. If it had breached the pressure vessel they would've noticed it very quickly (lack of pressurisation).
and one of the most famous incidents (in the U.S.)
Both were from fatigue, but fatigue doesn't have to be a gradual thing; it could come from a single hit that causes the pressure vessel to fail at altitude.
See the whole list here
Edit: clarify, typo
i could not find a reference but i remember an incident where an aircraft only scraped its backend on take off and repairs were made, but years later the aircraft was lost with everyone on board after cracks propagated up and around and the aircraft lost its whole tale section
There's no reason the aircraft can't be properly repaired, and be as strong as it was when it was delivered. The Boeing Structural Repair Manual is very precise. It was just ignored.
22 years later!
Worst single-aircraft disaster in history.
I thought that on airliners pilots input runway length, altitude and wind strength and direction, and the computer optimized the thrust accordingly?
The various flight trackers all use thousands of receivers around the world, and most of them probably use the same kind of SDR chip that was originally designed for USB TV and radio receivers.
I wonder if anyone says, “I won’t be there Gus if it isn’t an Airbus”.
Also, the airport wasn't good anymore. They had just destroyed the Instrument Landing System at the end of the runway. Nobody should land there.
While it is true that the normal lighting was off (because it wasn't a valid runway at the time), there was a lighted, flashing X to indicate that fact. Along with the fact that the taxiway was not illuminated as a runway, and the pilots were notified about the runway closure…
I feel like if you are so visually impaired, you can't see an object you are facing, you really should't land visually.
In this particular case, the departure airport only had one runway, and immediately after the botched takeoff it was at least in dire need of a debris check, so I wouldn't be surprised if the airport was closed while that happened. Wouldn't have taken four hours, though, and I suspect that they would do whatever they could to accomodate an emergency aircraft had the pilot declared.
Usually in times of partial emergencies, there is a threshold point where you full own the emergency and declare it.
The rules are based on the fact that landing is harder on the airframe than taking off, so as long as max takeoff weight is only a fraction higher than max landing weight you get a pass.
And at any rate you get the greater of 10 minutes or 1% of max takeoff weight per minute to dump enough fuel to land safely. I wonder how long it takes a 737 to circle the runway before it's safe?
One takeoff I was on, the plane was vibrating like crazy, like I've never heard before but after a few minutes, it stopped and nothing happened!
I guess the majority of the damage was done by the large steel antennae it hit before the wall.
Airport perimeter damage: https://mobile.twitter.com/ANI/status/1050582092688629760
Overrunning the runway is often considered avoidable from my limited understanding. Planes are flight worthy under _a lot_ of issues. Even single engine failure or engine fire after V1 (the speed at which you can't abort/reject takeoff without overrunning the runway) isn't cause to abort/reject takeoff.
With landing, the plane needs to touch down early enough and at the correct speed to stay on the runway.
Overrunning the runway is never considered a "good" thing. Rejected takeoffs that shouldn't have been and bad landings are often causes of death. They're expected to not happen.
As far as I can tell this wasn't unusually close to the runway, the plane just stayed on the ground far past the end of the runway.