IndiGo told the aircraft was grounded at Kolkata airport for assessment and repairs and the incident is being investigated.
An international flight operated by IndiGo did a bounced landing at Kolkata airport on Monday evening, with the aircraft’s underbelly scraping the tarmac which led to its immediate landing.
Categorized as a significant ‘incident’, it triggered an automatic inquiry by the Civil aviation authority and de-rostering of the cockpit crew till completion of the inquiry. The captain and co-pilot will have to undergo retraining before being permitted to fly again.
The underbelly of the Airbus A321neo aircraft showed extensive scrape marks from the tailstrike from the bounced landing in Kolkata at 4.51 pm on Monday. Flight 6E 1859 carrying 200 passengers had taken off from Dhaka at 4.42 pm local time (4.12 pm IST).
Directorate General of Civil Aviation
The damage was said in post-flight inspection and the aircraft was grounded for thorough inspection and repairs. It will require to undergo test flight checks after repairs to get the nod from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to be re-inducted into commercial operations.
Veteran pilots told the incident may have been caused due to the pilots erring in calculating the rate of descent during landing. Adverse environmental conditions, like strong tailwinds, can also cause bounced landing. But such winds were not reported by the meteorological office at the airport on a Monday evening.
Airport officials told the aircraft with registration VT-ILR that was inducted into the IndiGo fleet in August 2021 is still grounded for assessment. “Engineers will be flown down for inspection, repairs, and servicing before a test flight is conducted to get an airworthiness certificate from Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
This is undertaken to ensure there was no structural damage to the aircraft during the incident,” an official told.
Had the tail strike happened during take-off, the plane would have had to immediately turn around and land in Dhaka.
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“A tail strike is considered a serious incident that can affect the structural integrity of an aircraft. During take-off, it is due to the rate at which the nose wheel of the aircraft is lifted towards the sky. It can happen due to miscalculation in speed caused by a combination of factors, like the air and humidity in the air,” another pilot stated.
“IndieGoGo Airbus A321N (VT-ILR, built 2021) experienced extensive tailstrike damage on flight #6E1859 between Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Kolkata (VECC), India. Damage was detected after landing,” JACDEC, flight safety, wrote on Twitter. A post-flight inspection revealed substantial tail strike damage.
In another incident, one IndiGo flight returned to Indira Gandhi International Airport, soon after taking off for Phuket in Thailand due to a technical glitch. IndiGo 6E-1763 was scheduled for Thailand and the pilot took off at 6:41 AM, however, the flight returned to the bay at around 7:31 AM at Delhi airport after the aircraft reported a technical glitch.
Soon after the incident, the passengers were deboarded and shifted to the terminal building, while an alternate aircraft was arranged for the next operation.
“An alternate aircraft is being provided to the passengers for the flight to Phuket. We regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers,” IndiGo told in a report.
Similarly, another IndiGo aircraft, heading to Qatar’s Doha, was recently diverted to Mumbai International Airport due to the loss of 1 of the 3 hydraulic systems.
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