5 officers killed as IAF’s new showpiece Super Hercules crashes near Gwalior

Sources said the C-130 J was part of a two aircraft formation that had taken off from Agra and was to carry out low-level flying training before returning to base.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Updated: March 29, 2014 8:19 am
C-130J Hercules plane inducted into service just last year crashed during a training mission Friday. (AP) C-130J Hercules plane inducted into service just last year crashed during a training mission Friday. (AP)

In A shocking loss for the air force, one of its most modern special operations C-130 J aircraft crashed Friday during a low-level, tactical training mission, killing all five crew and destroying the plane.

The aircraft, inducted in 2010, was commanded by Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, an experienced pilot and the second-in-command of the 77 ‘Veiled Vipers’ squadron. It had three other pilots on board, including one who was undergoing training.

Sources said the C-130 J was part of a two aircraft formation that had taken off from Agra and was to carry out low-level flying training before returning to base. Official and eyewitness accounts said the aircraft apparently grazed a hillock before crashing in a riverbed site 116 km west of Gwalior on the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border.

“The aircraft, numbered KC 3803, was the number two of the formation and was carrying out a tactical flying training mission. The loss of the aircraft was ascertained by the lead aircraft and rescue choppers were sent from Gwalior,” an air force officer told The Indian Express.
What has come as a surprise is that the aircraft was believed to be in good technical condition and did not give out any distress signal before going down. “The crash was sudden and there was no indication from the crew that anything was wrong,” the officer said.

While a court of inquiry that has been ordered will rely on flight data information from its black box as well as the account of the lead aircraft of the formation, the investigation is expected to focus on a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) situation or a sudden loss of control due to a technical or human error, among others.

Accounts from the ground said the aircraft was observed to be flying low and hitting a small hillock before disintegrating and catching fire on a river bed. Local villagers were the first to reach the site and recovered the bodies of the crew who were thrown out of the aircraft after it disintegrated on impact.

The crew has been identified by the air force as Wing Commander Prashant Joshi (Pilot), Wing Commander Raji Nair (Co-pilot), Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra (Pilot undergoing training), Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer KP Singh (Systems Operator).

“Events like these are painful reminders of the inherent risks which our brave air warriors face in the execution of our daily mission,” Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said, adding that “the best pilots have been chosen to fly these aircraft”.

“The C-130J is a modern aircraft which was inducted into the IAF in 2010. In the last three years of its operations we have exploited capabilities of this aircraft during Uttarakhand floods and landing at DBO, which is the highest landing ground in the world,” he said.
India has six C-130 J ‘Super Hercules’ aircraft that were inducted starting 2010. The cost of the fleet was $962 million and India is processing an order of six more such aircraft.

the C 130J is known to be a hardy, tough aircraft capable of landing in short, unprepared runways, and the crash has shocked the air force as it was the plane of choice for tough missions.

While the C-130 airframe has been in service since the 1950s, the ‘J’ variant is the latest in the series and is considered to be one of the safest in its class. The only other incident of a C-130J crashing was in March 2012 when a Norwegian air force plane crashed into a mountain range in an accident that was later attributed to air traffic control and pilot error.

 

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  1. P
    Piloot error
    Mar 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm
    PiLOOT error. That is the Bureau of Standard(India) in other words BS reason.
    Reply
    1. R
      raze
      Mar 28, 2014 at 10:14 am
      U how do u relate internal control to this accident??? You u should think before u speak... It's not just the money but also precious and highly skilled pilots that we've lost...
      Reply
      1. P
        PDD
        Mar 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm
        RIP to the dead pilotswikipedia lists its cost at $48M which is roughly Rs 300Cr. Why did India pay 1000Cr for each ?
        Reply
        1. F
          Field McConnell
          Mar 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm
          In Malaysia and stan and China aviation safety officials are mulling this google: [ MH370 BUAP McConnell ] It leads to revelation of the Boeing Uninterruptible Autopilot installed as standard equipment on all Boeing jets. It appears that the pilots in Malaysia were not trained as to how to proceed in event of activation. Until 8 March, 2014 no one in the 'airline world' was aware of the BUAP. Today everyone is become aware.
          Reply
          1. H
            Harsh Mishra
            Mar 30, 2014 at 3:29 am
            What do you know about the service records of the pilots? Wg cdr joshi was a qualified flying instructor and would have commanded the unit. The co pilot also had a flying experience of incident free thousands of hours. Don't just shoot anything out of that gob of yours just because you are still ticking and they aren't.A new aircraft does not mean that it can't develop a snag. Deable and dumb on your part. You ought to be ashamed.
            Reply
            1. H
              hIREN
              Mar 28, 2014 at 10:14 am
              Boss, high level corruption going on in buying all stuff... must check
              Reply
              1. S
                suresh
                Mar 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm
                Where is the defense minister ,if he can crash hercules there is something wrong basically within the system.Mr Antony who is no body in defense matters is finishing the entire system.It's time to awaken and do something so that silly people will not remain at the hem of the affairs.How we are allowing this people to run the govt:.Kick them out.there should be a m movement.do not allow this scoundrels to escape.How many episodes has happened and we are allowing them to function and allow them to give extempore of their loots.all of us are naive otherwise how these people are allowed to function.It's high time to send them to gallows .
                Reply
                1. N
                  niranjan
                  Mar 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm
                  He's talking about about the aircraft carrier my friend
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    Pape
                    Mar 28, 2014 at 9:11 am
                    Country is loosing a lot of money. Need to get these setbacks controlled. Not the enemy but the internal controls are hurting more.
                    Reply
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                      Palaniappan Rajaram
                      Mar 30, 2014 at 5:04 am
                      Raman's argument is not without merit. No one is saying that the crew members were incompetent. But, it is a fact that our country doesn't spend enough time and/or money in providing adequate training to the operators. Just look at all the crashes we have had. Are all acts of God? Remember when the Mirage was inducted into the IAF? Wing Commander Bakshi made an error in judgement by going for an additional loop and slamming into the tarmac. Other countries don't crash their planes as often as we do.A plane that was just procured, when it crashes, cannot be let go without hard questions. 5 lives were sadly lost and so was an expensive plane which will additionally tax our preparedness in countering China and God knows how many more lives will be at risk because we are not prepared against the Chinese threat.
                      Reply
                      1. P
                        prakash
                        Mar 30, 2014 at 3:34 am
                        Everyone knows that All are finding ways to make money through corruption in each segment. when our focus is money then you would not care for training, just do things for name sake.We tax payers paying through nose for bloody every nonsense things. this crash cost 1000 Crs, who will give money? Our Defense Minister is the weakest I ever seen my life.All defense senior official should pay for this ...Every one is interested in making money in Gov orgs. who cares for life ,nation and common man & his safety.
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Sandeep
                          Mar 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm
                          Unfortunately a "chalta hai" atude doesnt go well with flying military aircraft. A chance for the air force to examine how its pilots are trained and promoted.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Raman
                            Mar 28, 2014 at 10:27 am
                            As someone with background in science, I need to tell people in India that we are wasting colossal amount of money! These are very good planes with a superb track record in the inventory of many countries. But, why in India we it up with crashes? We need to check our policies if right people are recruited and trained. It is sad that this is coming after the debacle from the Navy that brought junk from the former Soviet Union!
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              Shreya
                              Mar 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm
                              @Raze: Thank You for supporting the deceased pilots!! People here have no idea what they are talking about and feel its 'cool' to blame the pilots who are well trained. s!!
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Shreya
                                Mar 29, 2014 at 12:18 pm
                                Raman: Are you mad???? 5 lives are lost and you are saying that policies need to be checked if the 'right people are selected'?? What's your definition of 'Right Peple'.? These people who are no more did this for a living, flying every day with thousands of flying hours. These pilots were not young recruits but experienced pilots with years of experience. SHAME ON YOU for blaming them at this sensitive time. Has any one ever questioned the politicians and experts who actually make the deals. Don't comment on things you don't understand and stop talking like an ignorant fool What background do you have in Science and is it enough to comment on Air Crafts or 'Tell people'! If you have the potential to understand, do some research on the internet before putting such comments and see for youself that in fact there have bee crash reports for similar air crafts in other countries too!
                                Reply
                                1. V
                                  Vectra
                                  Mar 28, 2014 at 11:08 am
                                  Ins sindhurakshak submarine of navy is not a junk,this kilo cl submarine is one on the most advanced and silent diesel electric submarine the world and served India successfully for many year.Off course when a boat becomes old it needs replacement with new ones.It has sunk because of human error and that too after upgrade.Manpower need to be well trained to handle countries defense ets.And yes next gen submarine need to be approved soon,soon means next year.A.K Antony failed to purchase any new submarine in his upa-ii 5 yr term and 9 yrs as defence minister.
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    Vijesh Palazhi
                                    Mar 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm
                                    First undrstand the situation then speak ...sitting in gallery and criticizing is very easy ..ok...scientist Raman
                                    Reply
                                    1. I
                                      indian
                                      Mar 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm
                                      Thnx shreya. At least there r some people like u who understand things n project ur views.....THEY WERE THE CREAM OF THE LOT (THIS IS FOR RAMAN)...THE AMOUNT OF FLYING EXPERIENCE THESE PEOPLE HAD IS MUCH MUCH MORE THAN UR USELESS LIFE BUDDY. 2 of them were about to become father nxt month.grow up guys.....these people spend a lifetime to secure ur present n future....give them their due at least when they r gone....they dont expect much from u.....RIP BRAVE HEARTS...
                                      Reply
                                      1. Z
                                        Zee
                                        Mar 28, 2014 at 10:35 am
                                        That was a b new $183 million aircraft. Couldn't have been mechanical error.
                                        Reply
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