If a person asks for the story of how two IndiGo planes avoided a mid-air collision, it could be summarized as ‘2 IndiGo Planes, 426 passengers and one man’s alertness’. Earlier on January 7, two IndiGo planes had taken off simultaneously from parallel runways. The planes had already acquired a height of 3000ft when an alert radar controller connected to the planes to give them a diverging heading. The pilots acted on the information and multiple evasive maneuvers were carried to avoid a mid-air collision. It should be noted that in Bengaluru, the North runway is used for planes for departure and the South runway is used for arrival. On the day the hair-raising incident transpired, only the North runway was used for both arrival and departure.
The Facts of the Matter
Flying in planes, like most modern amenities and technologies, is massively underrated. Many forget, that by spending a few thousand rupees, they are literally in the air, and carried by intelligent and courageous men who are essentially in control of a high-tech metal tube. Millions of people take flights every day, and chances of a human error are slim to none.
However, when a crisis occurs, or is averted, we get to understand how several pieces are put together in a well-oiled machinery of aviation. Recently, the alertness of a radar controller, the promptness of the pilots, and the luck of 426 souls on the board of two IndiGo planes were part of a thrilling escape.
Two Planes Come Dangerously Close to Mid-Air Collision
On January 7, two IndiGo planes took off from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport. The two airplanes had come dangerously close to having a mid-air collision while taking off. As many as 426 lucky passengers miraculously escaped a mishap when the two aircrafts had taken off at the same time, in converging directions from the two parallel runaways of the airport.
On January 19, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) Arun Kumar claimed that a probe has been ordered into the matter. He also added those responsible will face strict action.
How Did Two Planes Got Clearance?
For the unversed, the distance between two runway at the Bengaluru airport is insufficient. Its insufficient enough that parellel and simultaenous take-offs and landing are not possible. And thus, two different runways – north and south – are used. The north is used for take-offs and the south is used for landings. Further, a time difference is also maintained for safety reasons.
Massive Failure in Communication
On the fateful day, a shift in-charge decided to only have a single runway operating with the north runway used for both arrival and departure. South runway was supposed to be closed for any kind of operations. However, the shift-in charge failed to convey the changes to the south tower controller.
Due to this, the south tower gave a clearance to one airplane while the north tower gave a clearance to the other airplane. At this moment, both the aircrafts were moving towards each other for a mid-air collision.
Threat Averted Thanks to This Man
However, thanks to the alertness of radar controller, the collision was avoided. The radar controller gave diverging directions to the airplanes. Interestingly enough, the Airports Authority of India never reported the incident, and the authorities at the airport didn’t register the incident in the logbook.