KATMANDU, JUNE 6
Aviation safety concerns at Nepal Airlines Corporation show no signs of abating, despite a new boss at the helm for over a year now. The flagship of the NAC fleet, the wide-bodied A330s, are now beginning to bear the brunt of the incompetence of its flight crew, although some of the technical management positions are held by experienced expatriates.
While the first case was the hard landing that resulted in one of the planes coming to a standstill for more than three months, the second, worryingly, involves other planes still in the air.
On April 25, flight RA 2052 from Delhi aborted its landing in Kathmandu on its first attempt, despite air traffic controllers clearing the RNP-AR approach, a satellite approach implemented by Airbus to improve flight safety in Kathmandu. This approach, allowing a curved flight profile to avoid terrain, allows the aircraft to maintain a constant slope and flight profile, thereby intending to reduce the workload on the crew. However, Captain Vijay Lama, the commander-in-chief of the NAC on the event flight and a celebrity, on the contrary, along with co-pilot Arpit Shrestha, chose to increase the cockpit workload by his confining unprofessional behavior. to recklessness, learned THT.
According to sources, the approach to Kathmandu, over dangerous terrain, requires the flight crew to remain situational aware at all times, but during the flight of the incident, the crew lost situational awareness. during the critical phase, leaving the aircraft at a significantly higher altitude – unprepared. to perform the RNP-AR approach.
Worse yet, the crew had no idea of the problem for several minutes, unable to interpret the clues presented by the highly automated aircraft instrumentation. Even when the missed approach procedure was finally performed after numerous crew misfires, the aircraft’s flight profile did not match that required by the CAAN aeronautical publication.
The standard missed approach procedure is a flight profile published by the airport authority to provide guidance to a flight to abort the landing maneuver, if the crew, citing a technical malfunction or the unavailability of a runway free, intends to go around and attempt another approach.
This incident not only exposed the reckless conduct of a senior A330 commander in a non-existent safety culture at the flag bearer, but also the questionable quality of the training provided to the flight crew before being cleared. to order flights by the regulator – – the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority. Despite the big bosses of NAC and CAAN claiming that safety has indeed improved since the EU’s operating ban in 2013, the regulator’s continued inability to get ahead of carriers under its watch when it s The question of investigating security events continues to be puzzling, aviation experts have said.
It certainly has to do with the atmosphere of good humor and camaraderie between the two parties rather than being somewhat antagonistic in the interests of public safety.
CAAN inspectors and senior officials slam glasses with flight crews at parties hosted by the national carrier in Nepal and abroad speak volumes about the current state of professionalism in both entities, more so at the level of the regulator.
Aviation experts say it remains to be seen how CAAN investigates this incident. Already it appeared a month late, similar to the previous hard landing incident, when the plane continued to perform flights for over a month, until the problem was reported by the company providing flight data analysis for the NAC on a monthly basis. contractual basis.
CAAN spokesman Raj Kumar Chhetri said the CNA had been asked to submit details of the incident at the earliest. “CAAN will take further action once it receives the NAC report,” he added.
CNA sources have claimed that an internal investigative team will provide details to CAAN within a day or two.
A version of this article appears in the June 7, 2021 print version of The Himalayan Times.