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Mid-air scare: ATC blames Jet aircraft,probe ordered

A day after seven aircraft approaching Kolkata lost contact for almost half-an-hour with the air-traffic control at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport...

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
January 29, 2009 3:06:16 am

A day after seven aircraft approaching Kolkata lost contact for almost half-an-hour with the air-traffic control (ATC) at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport,the ATC officials say it might have been because of a glitch in the transmitter of an in-coming Jet aircraft that blocked their VHF (very high frequency) communication with the ground staff at the airport.

Sources at the airport said the recorded dialogue between ATC officials in Kolkata and the pilot of the Jet aircraft shows that the plane was facing problems with its equipment once it left Yangon ATC.

The pilot of the aircraft reportedly said the problem was probably caused due to a glitch in the equipment of the aircraft.

Meanwhile,the executive director of the airport,P K Singhal,told the Indian Express that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been asked to probe into the matter.

“We are involving the DGCA as the probe may include checking of the aircraft’s equipment to ascertain what went wrong. They will also be questioning the airline engineers,” said Singhal.

“The pilot has admitted to the ATC that there was a technical glitch in his air-borne equipment,” he said,adding he has also ordered a on the “action taken” during the half-an-hour crisis.

“In simple words,at any point of time,an aircraft is supposed to use one particular frequency. A certain channel discipline needs to be maintained at all times,” explained a senior ATC official,adding that there are six available frequencies for air-borne pilots to establish contact with the ATC.

“If there is a glitch in any of the transmitters of any aircraft,it can jam the frequency for others. This is probably what happened yesterday,” the official said. “The Kolkata ATC can be contacted through six frequencies while the aircraft had two frequencies. One of the transmitters must have developed a problem after Yangon. We are looking into the technical part,” said a flight engineer of Jet Airways.

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