New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is minutely scrutinising footage of the recent Mirage 2000 crash, obtained from the Air Traffic Control, and suspects that a possible mechanical issue and failure of the arrester barrier at the end of the runway may have contributed to the accident.
The crash, at the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) airport in Bengaluru, killed both IAF test pilots — Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi.
Sources said the footage shows that the pilots tried to touchdown a second after takeoff, indicating a possible mechanical fault. They added that the entire sequence of the crash has been caught in the video, which is key to unravelling the cause of the accident along with the jet’s black box, which has been sent to France for analysis.
HAL had carried out six test flights on the aircraft and it was on its second test by the IAF when it crashed.
According to top defence sources, the video shows that the aircraft had released its brakes and accelerated. They said that at about 13 seconds from the wheel roll, the nose wheel had lifted off the ground and seven seconds later, the entire aircraft was off the ground.
“When the aircraft is about five metres from the ground, its nose pitches sharply down and it hit the runway on its main wheels and tail,” a source said. The source added that the impact damaged the runway and an “orange flame” is seen on impact.
Sources said that as a result of the impact, the main undercarriage collapsed and sheared off due to the force of the crash-landing.
By then, the braking tail-chute, located on the underside of the tail, is also damaged but the aircraft continues to move forward on its two-wing drop tank and nose wheel.
Sources said that at this point, the pilots would have hoped that the arrester barrier would have stopped the aircraft as there was no breaking device other than the friction of the drop tank scraping the ground.
Also read: Mechanical failure could be behind Mirage 2000 accident, death of 2 pilots
The barrier that failed
Sources said the video shows that the arrester barrier appears to have failed as it was unable to stop the aircraft. The arrester barrier is a net with two hydraulic jacks that is at the end of the runway to ensure that an aircraft does not overshoot it.
“The video indicates the barrier had failed and the aircraft appears to have lifted off the ground and cleared the 10-ft high boundary wall neatly before hitting the ground and finally exploding into flames,” a source said.
Just as the aircraft hit the ground, two seats are seen to eject in sequence but it was too late by then.
Sources said the video clearly shows that something has happened in the aircraft after lift-off to cause the pilots to try to touchdown immediately. “The black-box holds the key to a lot of questions,” sources said.
Also read: For the record, Rahul Gandhi, HAL did not make Mirage 2000
Sonia led UPA Government had deliberately broken the Backbone as well as Work Culture of HAL, neither they purchased a single Rafale during long 10 years Regime,to weaken our Defence System.
AF should now file an FIR against the person who was responsible for maintaining the barrier, drag that chap to court …. Put pressure on govt to dismiss the civ who is overall responsible. As that is MOD spend so much in court case. Please stop self pity, we have to stand against these civ in HAL.
The Air Force should train army doctors in iridology, that is iris reading. The iridology can predict death or near death. All such aircraft personnel in the danger zone shouldn’t be flying sorties and should be given ground duty. As it is the Mirage is dubbed the Widows plane. How many sir force personnel should sacrifice their life before MOD scraps the plane. As a citizen of India i am incensed and deeply troubled by these deaths.
Sad to hear such a unwary comment with both the facts incorrect. Firstly, you possibly can’t scan the iris of a pilot and find out about the fear of death without him experiencing the near death situation. No one can predict or even simulate that situation. But yes, a pilot may be tested for his emergency handling skills under pressure and may be graded accordingly.
Secondly, you seem to be confused with the aircraft supposedly known to be a “widow maker”, that’s MiG-21 and definitely not Mirage 2000. If IAF stops flying aircraft of Mirage 2000 calibre then probably they will have to phase out their 3/4th of the fighter fleet. So please get your facts correct before commenting on such sensitive topic.
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