The PIA Airbus A320, that crashed on residential area shortly after 130 PM is more than a mystery, for it raises more questions than answers about safety regulations, pilot’s role, sudden jamming of its landing gears, and about its airworthiness.
These are no small questions. They mean a lot to avionics and reflects seriously on the technical capabilities of the airline. The ill-fated aircraft, on a special flight from Lahore to Karachi with several well known personnel, 7 cockpit and cabin crew, and 91 passengers on board. According to reports till Iftar time in Karachi, nearly35 passengers had perished, but fuller accounts will take time to materialize.
The finding of the aircraft’s black box will be helpful but only nearly four to six months for it will be flown to France where the French-and British collaboration had been in the business with these aircraft for many, many decades. Pakistani civil aviation authority is still to be in a position to decipher technicalities, and the conversation between pilot and Karachi airport control tower.
The first and foremost question is why did the landing gears jammed. Well aviation history is full of examples where such incidents happen, but jamming of the landing gear which the pilot conveyed to Karachi control, hd no relationship with the flying capabilities of an aircraft. Most important question that needs to be answered as to how the two engines of the aircraft stopped working, because when landing gears jamm, the aircraft takes a round-up to burn its fuel for belly landing, and the time of 35 to 40 minutes thus available, enables the ground safety staff of the Civil Aviation Authority to lay foam on the runways so that the aircraft having burnt its fuel, does not catch fire, and passengers , a total of 98 in this case, could slip down the artificial quickly and moved to safety.
The fact that both these engines stopped functioning, needs to be investigated. What the aircraft airworthy to take off. Reports filtering in present a different and horrifying picture. The ground engineer at the take off station, Lahore in this case, gives complete power to the aircraft, and until the Pilot thumbs up, the pane can not take off. A long check-in list had to be gone through before pilot agrees to take off.
Reports from Lahore, that the plane had some engineering defects, which was also noticed before the take off, why di the Pilot, with 18 years of flying experience agreed to be airborne. Was the power enough to allow the two engines to hover the landing airport to prepare itself from crash landing is a major poser here.
Unconfirmed reports also suggest that the airline suffered from spare parts shortage. Why did the PALPA, Pakistan airlines pilots association allow its members to fly the aircraft whose airworthiness had question mark. PIA engineering department insists it kept writing to management for completing the spare parts inventory, but was it done? That again is a huge question.
Mystery shrouds the aircraft losing control with the control tower and crashing on the residential area near airport, where congested colonies like Malir, Saudabad, etc became victim, and apart from the innocent passengers, residents of the four house, one of which was completely gutted, fell victim to an unforeseen tragedy. The ill-fated Pilot shouts of May day May day showed that he had distracted from the landing approach, and perhaps knew his fate well in advance. Commercial aviation is a serious business, because it involves the life of so many innocent souls. That most of them perished, is a blot on CAA.