News Plane Crashes Update News — 26 April 2017

Update 27/04/2017: Gondia plane crash: Kalyani was just an hour short of getting licence

Trainee pilot Himani Kalyani was just an hour short of completing the mandated 200-hour flying to get a commercial pilot licence when her aircraft crashed, killing her and her instructor.

The crash took place at 0940 hours after one of the engines of the aircraft, DA42, got stuck in a rope-way, barely 20 minutes of its take-off from the Birsi Airport in Gondia district of Maharashtra.

Twenty-four-year-old Kalyani, from Karnal in Haryana, had completed 199 hours of flying training from the Gondia-based National Flying Training Institute (NFTI).

She was on the final sortie on the multi-engine DA42 aircraft, which crashed into the Wainganga River near Gondia.

“Kalyani was all set to complete her flying training with today’s sortie. She was soon expected to join a private commercial airline as pilot,” a source said.

Her instructor, Capt Ranjan Gupta, a retired wing commander of the Indian Air Force, was a senior flying instructor with around 4,000 hours of flying experience, they said.

The 45-year-old Gupta, a native of Kolkata, also died in the crash of the 4-seater twin-engine aircraft.

He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and a daughter, both in school.

A flying instructor at another training academy, who had known Gupta and worked with him, described him as “the best fauji I have ever known”.

“He was very experienced and a great man. Don’t know how it happened,” the FI, who did not want to be named, said.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, a wing of the Civil Aviation Ministry, has launched a probe into the accident, according to sources.

The bureau is mandated to probe all serious incidents and accidents involving Indian planes.

The trainer aircraft was flying at a height lower than the one permitted by the ATC, they said.

“The ATC had permitted the aircraft to fly at around 4,000-5,000 feet but it was at a much lower altitude. The aircraft had apparently developed a snag and for this reason the pilot was perhaps attempting a safe landing.

“However, in the process, one of its engines got stuck in a rope-way, which connects Deori village with Laoni ghat on the Wainganga River, resulting in the crash,” the official said.

Meanwhile, a senior DGCA official said every year there are around 10-20 reports of incidents involving damage to the aircraft from flying clubs/academies.

“These incidents include damage to component system (of the aircraft), sometimes accruing from ill-maintenance,” the official said, maintaining that casualties have been rarely reported over the last few years.

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Instructor Ranjan R Gupta and trainee pilot Himani Gurudayal Kalyani (24).

Instructor Ranjan R Gupta and trainee pilot Himani Gurudayal Kalyani (24).

Older news:
A TRAINING aircraft from National Flying Training Institute (NFTI) crashed in the Wainganga river near Deori village in Tiroda tehsil of Gondia district on Wednesday morning, killing two persons on board.

The two were identified as trainer Ranjan Gupta, around 45 years of age, and trainee Himani Kalyan, around 23. While Gupta belongs to Guwahati but had been staying at Gondia along with his wife, Himani belonged to New Delhi. Her parents arrived at Gondia later in the evening.

Preliminary reports have it that the plane dropped altitude and then suddenly crashed into a cable-car ropeway connecting Deori to Dhimartola in Madhya Pradesh which starts across Vainganga river.

“The mishap occurred around 9.45 am,” said S Raja Reddy, Director of Airport Authority of India (AAI) at Gondia’s Birsi airport where NFTI is located.

“The twin-engine plane DA42 had taken off around 9.25 am from Birsi and crashed in Wainganga river barely 35 km away from Gondia,” he added. NFTI is a private limited company and runs the training institute in a joint venture with the AAI.

Asked about probable reasons for crash, Reddy said, “we are not sure about it yet. There was no report to the ATC from the crew.” He added: “The twin-engine plane apparently dropped altitude and then crashed into a cable-car ropeway that connect the two sides of the Wainaganga river.”

Reddy said, “Gupta was a very skilled pilot and has even flown military aircraft like MiG when he was working with Indian Air Force.” Asked why he couldn’t send distress call to the ATC, Reddy said, “that’s a matter of investigation. A team of Director General of Civil Aviation experts will come from Delhi tomorrow to investigate.”

The plane is a four-seater owned by NFTI to train its students for the 18-month course. For how long the two victims have been associated with NFTI couldn’t also be immediately known.

According to Reddy, “NFTI is currently number one flying institute in the country and has over 150 students and more than 10 instructors.”

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RAW video: Landing Daimond DA-42 (VT-NFM) at VAGD (Birsi Airport, Gondia) on 31-01-2013 at 17:15 IST. Returning from VANP (Nagpur)

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