DGCA speaks in twin voices on YSR chopper’s airworthinessSeptember 3rd, 2009 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) India’s civil aviation regulator seems to be speaking in twin voices on the airworthiness of the helicopter that crashed, killing Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. A posting on its website says its certification had lapsed two years ago but a statement issued by it asserts just the opposite.
The twin-engine Bell 430 helicopter, call sign VT-APG, bore certificate of airworthiness number 2390 issued on July 6, 2006 and was valid till July 4, 2007, says the website of the Directorate General of Civilian Aviation (DGCA).
However, a DGCA statement late Wednesday said: “The helicopter was in possession with a valid Certificate of Airworthiness No. 2390 with its validity up to 05.12.2010. It had flown for 2,812.20 Hrs since new and 325.10 Hrs from last C of A.”
On Thursday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel asserted Thursday that despite what was posted on the DGCA website, the helicopter was airworthy.
The helicopter was registered on Jan 1, 1999 under file number 4-2/99-AI(I) and certificate number 2981 in the name of the general administration department of the Andhra Pradesh government, the DGCA website said.
Powered by two Allison 250B 40C turboprop engines, the helicopter had a seating capacity of nine, including the crew
The helicopter carrying YSR, as he was popularly called, went missing at 9.35 a.m. Wednesday, an hour after it had taken off from Hyderabad on a flight to Chittoor, 588 km away.
Its mangled remains were found at around 8.30 a.m. Thursday morning on a hillock 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool, 200 km from Hyderabad. Four others were also killed in the crash.
Civil aviation sources here had told IANS Wednesday that the helicopter was not airworthy and was pulled out of the chief minister’s use last year after the state purchased a new Italian chopper.
On Thursday, another civil aviation official said the helicopter was not only airworthy but also had a good flying record.
“It has been used by the Andhra Pradesh government and for commuting chief ministers for the last 10 years. It had a good track record and was well maintained,” the official told IANS.
The state government, according to the official, used the Bell 430 chopper even as it purchased a new Italian chopper Agusta AW 139 for the chief minister. “This was done because the Bell 430 was airworthy,” he added.
Reacting to the crash, a senior pilot who served state-owned Pawan Hans for over 20 years, said the Bell 430 is “an excellent flying machine” but at the same time, had limitations.
“It lacks night-landing capability,” he pointed out.
The Agusta AW 139 was put into service in November last year, the sources said.
Soon afterward, the Bell 430 was handed over to the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Corp for commercial operations. According to one official, the police in Andhra Pradesh were now using the chopper.
- DGCA cover-up on YSR chopper's airworthiness? (With Images) - Sep 08, 2009
- Missing chopper was not airworthy: sources - Sep 02, 2009
- Government sets up panel to probe YSR chopper crash - Sep 03, 2009
- DGCA to probe YSR's chopper crash - Sep 03, 2009
- Andhra orders probe into 'misuse' of official chopper - May 13, 2012
- Sanjoy takes on civil aviation authorities over Tawang chopper crash - Apr 22, 2011
- Chopper carrying YSR was airworthy, says Andhra government - Sep 03, 2009
- Arunachal MP welcomes setting up of committee to probe Tawang crash - Apr 24, 2011
- Reddy's copter was airworthy: Patel - Sep 03, 2009
- Madhya Pradesh to buy a new chopper - Oct 25, 2009
- Dhumal flies high on Congress MP's chopper - May 05, 2011
- Chouhan's chopper undergoes checks after YSR accident - Sep 06, 2009
- Not resuming helicopter service in northeast: Minister - Jun 26, 2011
- Chopper with Arunachal chief minister missing (Lead) - Apr 30, 2011
- Praful Patel says Andhra CM's copter was airworthy, to order inquiry - Sep 03, 2009
Tags: 40c, andhra pradesh government, apg, bell 430 helicopter, certificate number, certificate of airworthiness, chief minister, civil aviation, civilian aviation, dgca, engine bell, general administration department, hillock, hyderabad, nautical miles, praful patel, thursday morning, turboprop engines, twin voices, valid certificate