General Rawat’s helicopter crashed in Badal due to pilot’s mistake

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were analyzed by the Court of Inquiry.

New Delhi: According to preliminary findings of the investigation team probing the case, a pilot error caused the helicopter crash that led to the death of Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat last month.

“The accident was the result of cloud entry due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley. This caused spatial disorientation of the pilot, resulting in a controlled flight over terrain (CFIT),” the team said after analyzing the flight data. Found. Recorder and cockpit voice recorder in addition to interrogation of all available witnesses to ascertain the most probable cause of the accident.

CFIT occurs when an airworthy aircraft, while under the full control of the pilot, is inadvertently flown over terrain, water or an obstacle.

According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), the term refers to accidents in which there is a collision during flight with terrain, water or any other obstacle without indication of loss of control.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration states that CFIT is “…an unintentional collision with terrain (ground, mountain, body of water, or an obstacle) while an aircraft is under positive control.”

The key difference in such incidents is that the aircraft is under the control of the flight crew.

A Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 other armed forces personnel – from Sulur Air Force Base in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore to Defense Staff Services College in Wellington – crashed on December 8 last year.

CDS General Rawat, his wife and 11 others died in the accident. Group Captain Varun Singh aboard the helicopter miraculously survived the accident and died a few days later due to severe burns.

The Tri-Services Court of Inquiry, led by the country’s top helicopter pilot Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, has presented its preliminary findings in the Mi-17 V5 crash. The Court of Inquiry ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage or negligence as the cause of the accident.

“Based on its findings, the Court of Inquiry has made certain recommendations which are being reviewed,” it said.

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