Vistara Pilot in Fuel Controversy Cleared by DGCA

DGCA found that the crew were trying to zero in to find a destination to land due to bad weather and long diversions to alternate options

By July 20th, 2019 AT 10:39 AM
Highlights
  • The tailwinds were beyond aircraft limitation when the flight tried to land at Delhi airport
  • The visibility range was dropping at Lucknow airport

The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) withdrew the grounding order of two Vistara pilots, who were involved in the landing of Vistara Mumbai-Delhi flight after a fuel scare. Both pilots were cleared for resuming their flying duties based on DGCA’s investigation report on the matter. To recall, only a few days back a Vistara flight had landed in Lucknow with only ten minutes worth of fuel in the tank.

Vistara-runway-closure-mumbai

Vistara Mumbai-Delhi Flight Lands in Lucknow with Low Fuel 

The pertaining incident happened on Monday, 16 July 2019, when Vistara’s Mumbai-Delhi flight Airbus A320 (VT-TNH) landed in Lucknow with less fuel, after hovering over Delhi for a long time due to bad weather. After finding the weather unsuitable for a smooth landing in Delhi, the pilots diverted the flight to Lucknow. However, the limited visibility made safe landing impossible at Lucknow as well. The crew then considered Kanpur and Allahabad to land in comparatively better weather condition. Once the Air Traffic Control (ATC) of Lucknow informed the pilots about the improved weather at the place, the crew flew back and landed at Lucknow.

Pilot Grounded After Declaring Fuel Mayday 

The unexpected diversions led the aircraft in a low-fuel situation despite carrying excess fuel above the required Flight Plan Fuel as per the regulation. The low-fuel circumstance made the pilots issue a Fuel Mayday call, which is done when the aircraft starts tapping into the emergency fuel reserve. When landed, the plane had 260 kg of aviation turbine fuel left in it.

In the investigation, DGCA found that the aircraft was cleared to land on the runway 29 of Delhi IGI airport. During the approach at 250 feet, the pilots had to divert to Lucknow due to the perceived rise in tailwinds beyond the aircraft limitation. During the plan of landing on runway 27 of Lucknow airport, ATC informed the crew about the dropping visibility range. The range was found to be recorded at 475 metres and was reducing to 275 metres when the required minima to land were 600 metres.

Ria is a lead news writer at Aviation Scoop. She writes from dawn to dusk, reads in the evenings, and draws at some ungodly hours. She loathes human interaction, and finds solace in the sweet, musky smell of old books, and rain. Find her on Twitter here - @rialakshman.

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