CDS chopper crash: Inquiry points to air crew error, detailed presentation to Rajnath Singh today πŸ’₯πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸš‘πŸš“πŸ’₯

The military helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and 13 others last month is likely to have been caused by air crew error, with the Mi 17V5 chopper going down in bad weather without giving any distress call, people in the know told ET.

A tri-services inquiry into the Mi 17V5 helicopter accident near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu has been finalised and defence minister Rajnath Singh is set to be given a detailed briefing on the crash today.

The inquiry report, according to the people cited earlier, suggests that the helicopter did not suffer from any technical problem and crashed when it entered a low-visibility patch just minutes before the scheduled landing.

As reported by ET, the cause of the crash is being identified as a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)–when an aircraft crashes into the ground due to disorientation of the crew and not a technical glitch. A CIFT is among the most common reasons for air crashes in bad weather, especially in mountainous regions.

The inquiry is also likely to suggest a change in the criteria for selection of air crew for VVIP flights.

In the case of the Mi 17V5 that crashed near Wellington last month, the crew consisted of highly experienced officers with thousands of flying hours under to their credit. In the future, a mix and match combination of crew members is likely to be recommended, to include officers with relatively lesser flying experience.

It is not clear if the report will recommend other changes, including specialised avionics and equipment on board VVIP flights that can give the crew more situational awareness while flying in low-visibility conditions.

The Mi 17V5 flying the CDS and others was a standard configuration aircraft without any special equipment specifically fitted for VVIP flights.

The inquiry into the crash is being led by the senior-most chopper pilot of the Indian Air Force, Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, who is the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command. The officer has previously served as the Director General of Inspection and Flight Safety.

Among the pieces of information put together by the inquiry team is a video of the last moments of the chopper that shows the Mi 17V5 disappearing into a thick fog bank, moments before the sound of a crash can be heard.

CDS chopper crash: Inquiry points to air crew error, detailed presentation to Rajnath Singh today

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