​Pilots Mid-Air Dive Launches Official Investigation Into Jet Airways

Staff Reporter
Aug. 15, 2014

Pilots mid-air dive gets them suspended after India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation launches an official Jet Airways investigation.

According to The Inquisitr, the pilots put the aircraft, a Boeing 777-300 Extended Range, into an altitude assigned to another aircraft. The aircraft plunged close to 5,000 feet without warning, prompting air traffic controllers in Turkey to issue warnings. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has launched an investigation into the pilots.

The mid-air dive started when the Jet Airways Boeing 777-300 Extended Range aircraft was on a flight from Mumbai to Brussels and plunged from 34,000 feet to 29,000 feet as the crew was occupied with other duties. The aircraft failed to notice the drop until air traffic controllers in Turkey asked what was wrong.

Jet Airways said it has suspended the crew who caused the pilots mid-air dive and initiated an internal inquiry:

“Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways, as is also the welfare of our guests and crew and the airline will always take appropriate steps to ensure the same.”

The pilots mid-air dive indicates that the crew was occupied with other things. The commander of the Boeing 777 aircraft was taking a nap and during this time the co-pilot was in the cockpit. However, the co-pilot was reportedly busy on her tablet at that time and did not notice that the aircraft had descended from its assigned flight level, raising doubts if she too had fallen asleep. It took a call from an alarmed Ankara ATC, asking why 9W-228 had moved away from its given level during a mid-air dive.

Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju also commented on the mid-air dive investigation:

“The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has viewed the descent of Jet Airways flight by almost 5000 feet over Turkey as a serious incident. Both the pilots have been taken off the roster pending inquiry. They were also summoned (on Wednesday) to DGCA and questioned about the incident.”

According to The Spreadit, the mid-air dive has prompted a “detailed investigation, which could take up to 5 months will also be searching to see if the dive was related to any technical issues.”

The regulator said both the pilots of Flight 9W228 were questioned on Wednesday about the pilots mid-air dive. It will audit Jet’s training procedures “to find out whether there are any shortcomings.”

The pilots mid-air dive adds to the backlash after the airline sector was shaken by a scandal in 2011 over a number of unqualified Indian pilots flying on fake licenses. And in January the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stripped the country of its top safety rating, citing a lack of safety oversight. India’s air passenger market has expanded at breakneck speed, but many companies are laden with debt due to cut-throat fare wars, high fuel costs and shoddy infrastructure.

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