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Human error behind AI plane’s fuselage panel falling off in 2013

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Boeing Delivers Air India?s First 777-300ER

Aviation regulator DGCA has found “human error”, among others, as the cause of an incident at the Bengaluru airport two years ago involving an Air India Dreamliner plane, in which the aircraft’s fuselage panel had fallen off at runway during landing.

The Boeing 787-800 aircraft, bearing registration no VT-ANK, was carrying 146 passengers and seven crew members from Delhi at the time of incident on October 12, 2013.

“The RH heat exchanger access panel detached at the time of landing on runway as the panel was remaining on the aircraft with only four screws instead of 47 screws which were not fully tight.

“The cause of the incident was due to human error and not adopting Standard Operating Procedures (SOP),” Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) concluded in its nine-page final investigation report on the incident.

The report was made public this week.

According to the investigation report, prior to flying to Bengaluru, the aircraft had operated Frankfurt-Delhi flight and was scheduled to fly to Melbourne.

On October 9, 2013, aircraft VT-ANK landed at Delhi from Frankfurt and had reported certain snags after arriving at the IGIA airport, the DGCA investigation report said, adding the “aircraft was scheduled to operate AI-312 to Melbourne but due to snag it was declared AOG (aircraft-on-ground) for rectification.”

Recommending for action as “deemed fit” by the headquarters, the report has also recommended that the handing over team of engineering should ensure correct briefing on off-job sheet.

“Shift in-charge has to ensure that the work is completed by the taking over team for completeness,” the report recommended.

Besides, appropriate instructions should be given to regional office of airworthiness to follow the SOP while extending the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for flights.

The list enables the commander to determine whether a flight may be commenced or continued from any intermediate stop in the eventuality of any instrument, equipment or systems becoming inoperative.