GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Aircrafts are prone to mishaps during takeoff and landing. Overrunning, and veering off, the runways are becoming alarmingly common by international air safety standards. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight crash in the port city of Karachi is shocking. The closed circuit television (CCTV) footage of the plane gradually descending towards a residential area makes for a sad view from a distance. The pilot, perhaps, tried in vain to manoeuvre the A320 8303 flight beyond the densely populated area, but in vain. It is said the captain went for a go around, after his first landing effort failed, and attempted landing a second time. That one, or both, the engines of the aircraft had failed could be made out from the communication the pilot had with the air traffic control (ATC). The pilot has been described as ‘very experienced’ by Pakistan’s pilots association. He had a flying career of over sixteen years. There are speculations about the efficiency of the landing gear. People have raised doubts about the flight being ‘fully fit’ before takeoff from Lahore. The tragedy may have been a result of a miscommunication between the air traffic control and the pilot. Due to up-to-date upkeep, and paying attention to minute details, short duration flights are not vulnerable to the Karachi, type of tragedy. The PIA accident sharply resembles the Dhaka-Kathmandu US-Bangla 211 flight crash near the Kathmandu airport due to faulty communication between the ATC and the pilot in March 2018. Since the 211 flight crashed in a non-residential space, on a football field, there were less total casualties. The Bangla plain touched the ground, and skidded off the runway to hit the fence, another possible reason for as many as twenty one of the total seventy one people, in the plane, saving their lives, with serious injuries though. But the passengers of the PIA, barring one, were not so fortunate. Judgmental error from the pilots, in both tragedies, cannot be overlooked. The captain and the first officer always need immaculate and unambiguous communication.