Hyderabad Trainee aircraft crash: Bad weather or technical error?

Hyderabad: Was it bad weather or a technical snag that led to the crash of a Cessna 172 trainee aircraft on Sunday?
Initial inquiries indicate a sudden heavy rain accompanied by thunderbolts and lightning could have led to the incident. A technical snag in the machine or some human error is not yet ruled out. While police have already registered a case under section 174 of CrPC for an aircraft crash and started a probe, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is yet to begin its investigation into the incident.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues. It is also responsible for the regulation of air transport services in India and enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards of aircrafts.

The Cessna 172 is a fixed-wing aircraft, with a single engine and has a four-seat capacity. On Sunday morning, it was on a training schedule from Begumpet airport to Kalaburagi airport at Karnataka, which is around 176 Kms. Midway, while flying over Sultanpur village in Bantwaram Mandal of Vikarabad district, there was a sudden downpour and weather conditions worsened. The aircraft was believed to be in contact with the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) till 11.55 am, after which there was no contact.

According to villagers, around noon they noticed the aircraft was out of control and toppled several times in the air and crashed into the cotton fields with lightning speed. The wreckage of the machine was scattered all over the fields, around 4 acres of area, and so were the bodies of the crew on board.

It is suspected that this sudden change of weather and heavy downpour forced the aircraft to go out of control and crash, thereby killing the crew.

DGCA to conduct a detailed probe:

DGCA is likely to start its probe on Monday. On Sunday the postmortem examination of the crew was conducted at the crash site itself. A team from the agency may visit the crash site again and after primary inquiries, the wreckage will be shifted to the academy for a thorough investigation. In the case of such incidents, DGCA may also suspend the operations of the institute, until the inquiry is completed and further orders. DGCA will analyse the cockpit records to assess what went wrong during the flight. Further, based on their report, police also are likely to alter the charges if any.

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