The commander of the ill-fated Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft that crashed in Mangalore, Capt Glusica, had ignored standard operating procedures and didn’t initiate a go-around the aircraft wasn’t in stable approach condition during its descent, the probe has revealed. Second, after the aircraft touched down and thurst reversers were deployed (an engine setting which slows down an aircraft), the commander opted for a go-around. This was in complete violation of the rule. Capt Glusica attempted to take-off when only 800 ft of the 8,038-foot long runway was left. The last sentence uttered in the cockpit was of Capt H S Ahluwalia’s: “We don’t have runway left.’’ The aircraft then zoomed ahead, hit a localiser, failed to climb and crashed into the gorge. “Had Capt Glusica continued with the landing, the aircraft would have stopped within the runway,’’ said Capt David Carbaugh, Boeing chief pilot flight operations who deposed before the CoI after the black-box data highlights were revealed.
Also, the flight had violated several laid-down limits — for criteria like airspeed and rate of descent — deemed critical for a safe approach. For instance, the aircraft’s descent rate was 2,000 feet per minute instead of 1,000 feet. It had “captured a false glide slope’’ — the aircraft was tracking a much higher or steeper angle of descent to land. The disaster could have been averted had Capt Glusica followed his co-pilot’s repeated calls to do a go-around. Also, it would have helped if the airline had issued clear instructions that during such situations, the co-pilot must take over the controls. The airline introduced that rule after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a circular last month, which reiterated that a co-pilot must take controls when the commander isn’t following the standard operating procedures.