Pilot grounded for allowing a car and bike mechanic fix helicopter engine
On October 12, 2016, an Agusta Westland AW 109 helicopter VT-VCA was on a routine flight from Goa to Pune via Kolhapur. Sanjay Patil, Chairman of Dr. D Y Patil Education Group received some visitors in the chopper and while they were ready for takeoff, the chopper refused to start.
Left with no other alternative, two car mechanics who own a garage in the name of Mistry Maharashtra in Kasba Bawda area of Kolhapur were called upon to inspect the engine. The Momin brothers were able to locate the problem which was an electrical fault that had cut off the power supply to the main engine which was preventing the chopper from taking off. Though the problem was fixed, the pilot has landed in serious trouble.
This news went viral. After all its not everyday you hear that a car mechanic successfully fixed an issue with helicopter. This was a great story for the press. But, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of India) was not happy.
The DGCA has come to know of the issue and received information and pictures of the two car mechanics tinkering with the helicopter engine. DGCA has grounded the pilot of the private chopper owned by a Mumbai-based company and further investigations are underway. This is probably the first such instance where a car mechanic has worked on a helicopter engine while part of the aviation safely norms stipulates that only qualified aircraft maintenance engineers are allowed to inspect and repair aircraft or helicopter engines.