Jet Airways plane freefalls 5000 ft, pilot sleeps, co-pilot busy on tablet
Raising serious concerns over safety of flying the Jet Airways flight No. 9W 228 was flying at an altitude of 34,000 ft when it suddenly started free falling to 29,000 ft. The incident has been termed as ‘very serious’ while the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of India) has immediately suspended both the pilot and co-pilot and initiated an inquiry into the incident.
A three member team has been set up to look into flight training programs and facilities while the team will be submitting its probe report on August 31, 2014. DGCA awaited detailed reports and will also be inspecting records of the Digital Flight Data Recorder in the days ahead.
On noting the falling aircraft, air traffic controls at Ankara immediately sent a message to the aircraft inquiring into the reason for deviation from the assigned path and instructing them to climb upto designated height without further delay.
Pilots when summoned for questioning stated that one of the pilots was on controlled rest which is allowed as per flight operation procedures while the co-pilot was working on her iPad or electronic flight bag which contains all flight documents thus putting the lives of passengers at risk. The pilots were not only negligent of their duty but also failed to report the incident or file a flight safety report. The near fatal calamity only came to light after an anonymous message.
On their part, Jet Airways issued a media statement according to which they had already opened an internal inquiry into the matter, and are also going to give full go-operation to DGCA. “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.”