Gen Rawat was unscathed in Cheetah crash in 2015 but weather, hills may have proved ‘deadly cocktail’ this time | India News – Times of Nation
The IAF court of inquiry will establish the exact reason that led to the crash, but experts point out that the Russian-origin Mi-17 V5s are extremely reliable helicopters compared to the obsolete Cheetahs and Chetaks still being operated by the armed forces.
While a Mi-17 V5 has powerful engines and advanced avionics, weather radars, autopilot systems, and IAF crews are well trained to fly them under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), a helicopter remains an extremely complex machine that can suddenly suffer a technical snag.
Moreover, low-drifting clouds, fog and mist can often roll in unannounced during winters in the mountainous terrain of the Nilgiri Hills. The worst Mi-17 V-5 helicopter crash in the IAF took place in June 2013 when 20 personnel were killed after their chopper went down during rescue operations for the Uttarakhand floods.
‘From a weather, topography and flight rules perspective, only some generic points can be made at this time on Wednesday’s crash. The fairway of the golf course at Wellington Gymkhana Club has a helipad with unidirectional approach that’s usually used for flights from Sulur or Coimbatore,’ said former naval aviator and test pilot Commander K P Sanjeev Kumar (retd).
‘Such flights are undertaken under VFR (visual flight rules), which basically means `see and avoid’. IFR rules cannot be directly applied to such ‘VFR-only’ helipads, especially if they encounter instrument meteorological conditions (IMC),’ he said.
CDS Rawat, wife, 11 others killed in Indian Air Force chopper crash
<p>CDS Bipin Rawat, wife, 11 others killed in IAF chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. Picture Credit (PTI)<br /></p>
‘Sudden reduction in visibility can push VFR flights into peril. Also, technical issues, if any, can impose dangers due to hilly terrain and/or reduced performance. Sadly we don’t yet have a silver bullet for the deadly cocktail of bad weather and hills,’ he added.
The IAF inducted around 150 armed Mi-17 V5 medium-lift helicopters, which are among the latest variants of the military transport chopper, in the 2011-2018 timeframe. The deals inked with Russia, with the first in 2008 and the second in 2012, were together worth well over $2 billion.
I am shocked and anguished over the untimely demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika ji. The nation has… https-//t.co/X3HVRqydh1
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) 1638968189000
Weaponised for combat operations, these choppers are used to ferry troops and cargo and can also operate in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Ladakh. They are also used to transport VVIPs like the President and PM within the country after the AgustaWestland chopper scam in 2013-2014 derailed the induction of the dozen three-engine AW-101 helicopters ordered under the Rs 3,546 crore contract inked in 2010.
Capable of carrying a maximum payload of 4,000 kg, the Mi-17 V5 even has some armoured plating and is equipped with latest-generation night vision goggles as well as chaff and flare dispensers to deflect missiles. It is operated by a three-member crew, including a pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a timesofindia.indiatimes.com feed.)
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