Sukhoi’s flight data recorder sent to London for analysis

May 27th, 2009 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent the flight data recorder of a frontline Sukhoi Su-30 MKI combat jet to Britain and its ejection chip to the original equipment manufacturer in Russia to analyse the cause of the April 30 accident that broke the 12-year accident-free record of the fighter aircraft.
A senior IAF official said the initial probe indicated that the digital flying control system failed leading to the crash and the failure of the ejection of the rear seat of the aircraft.

“The court of inquiry is still on. But the reason of the accident appears to narrow down to two systems - flight control and ejection - of the rear cockpit. The flight data recorder and the ejection chip has to be analysed,” IAF Chief designate P.V. Naik told reporters here.

A senior IAF official said the recorder and the ejection chip have been sent to Britain and Russia for analysis.

“The flight data recorder has been sent to the UK and the ejection chip, which records the time, height and speed at the time of ejection, has been sent to the original equipment manufacturer (in Russia) for examination,” the senior official said on condition of anonymity.

In a blot on its otherwise unblemished record, a Su-30 MKI crashed in Jaisalmer April 30, killing the co-pilot.

The pilot, Wing Commander S.V. Munje, and the co-pilot, Wing Commander P.S. Narah, had managed to bail out in time but Narah was killed after he was apparently hit by the falling debris of the aircraft.

Narah belonged to the IAF’s Directorate General of Inspections and Safety and was putting the aircraft through its annual safety checks.

The aircraft had taken off from the Lohegaon air base in Pune on a routine sortie and crashed while returning to base.

The IAF later grounded its fleet of approximately 55 Russian-origin Su-30s. There have been recurring complaints by pilots about problems with the jet.

The Su-30 MKI combat jets resumed flying last week even as a 20-member team of Russian experts has been conducting checkups on them.

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