Air India pilot sights chopper on Mumbai runway, aborts take-off

February 9th, 2009 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilMumbai, Feb 9 (IANS) A tragedy was averted Monday when the pilot of a New Delhi-bound Air India flight aborted take-off from the Mumbai airport after he spotted an army chopper landing on the same runway. The helicopter was part of President Pratibha Patil’s entourage, an Air India spokesperson said.
Air India flight IC-866, with over 130 passengers on board, had already gained momentum and run about a kilometre on the runway when the chopper landed on the same runway. The pilot noticed that the helicopter was dangerously close and applied emergency brakes to abort the take-off.

“The tyre of the aircraft got damaged in the incident and the aircraft was then taken to the bay. Passengers have been flown to the national capital by another aircraft,” said the Air India spokesperson.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a probe into the incident, the spokesperson added.

“It looks to be a case of a mistake committed by an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) at the airport. The ATC is responsible for landing and take-off operations at the airport,” said another Air India official.

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