Agni Air Flight 101
The aircraft, 9N-AHE, 4 months prior to the incident
|Date||24 August 2010|
|Summary||attitude indicator (AI) failure leading to Spatial disorientation|
|Site||near Shikharpur, 50 mi (80 km) south of Kathmandu|
|Aircraft type||Dornier Do 228-101|
|Flight origin||Tribhuvan International Airport|
Agni Air Flight 101 was a regional flight operated by Agni Air between Kathmandu, Nepal, and Lukla, Nepal, that crashed on 24 August 2010, killing all 14 people on board. Twenty minutes after take-off from Kathmandu, the flight crew had reported technical issues with the aircraft, and requested a return to the airport; they were, however, diverted to a different airport. Five minutes after this transmission contact with the aircraft was lost; the aircraft was found crashed 50 miles (80 km) south of Kathmandu.
Initial reports suggested the crash had been caused by a combination of severe weather and mechanical problems with the aircraft. The investigation into the accident, however, found the cause was spatial disorientation following the loss of a flight instrument after both generators failed. Backup battery power was exhausted early, due to the crew using an outdated checklist and not adhering to a checklist.
The aircraft involved was a Dornier Do 228 bearing the registration 9N-AHE. It was built by Dornier Flugzeugwerke in 1984 and was operated by Skyline Airways before being purchased by Agni Air in 2006.
Flight 101 was traveling on a flight between Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal. 20 minutes after take-off, the crew of the aircraft contacted air traffic control reporting technical problems and requesting a return to Kathmandu.
Controllers then diverted the aircraft to Simara Airport in Pipara Simara, Nepal, due to poor weather conditions at Kathmandu. Aviation officials said although the flight crew reported technical problems, they did not declare an emergency or request priority clearance to land. It was not clear what technical problems the crew had reported were; some reports suggested an engine failure had occurred, other reports indicated a generator failure had occurred aboard the aircraft.
Five minutes after reporting issues with the aircraft, radar and radio contact with the aircraft was lost. The aircraft crashed in the town of Shikharpur, Narayani, around 50 miles (80 km) south of Kathmandu. Witnesses reported there was no noise from the engines prior to the crash. The force of the crash spread wreckage in an area with a diameter of around 330 feet (100 m); and the aircraft created a crater 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep upon crashing.
Rescue operations were immediately undertaken after it became clear that the plane had crashed, although efforts were hampered by the fact that the crash site was around two hours away from the closest location of police forces. Heavy rains in the area also led to the risk of flooding and landslides. Personnel from the Nepalese Army reached the site of the crash on foot, and were responsible for gathering bodies, but due to weather conditions, helicopters were forced to land more than a mile away. Authorities announced a reward of Rs. 50,000 for anyone who would find equipment that would help authorities discover the cause of the crash. By 2 September, both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder of the crashed aircraft had been located; both were undamaged and were analysed by investigators in India. The government of Nepal formed a five-member panel to help determine the cause of the crash; the committee was instructed to submit a report on the crash within 65 days.
Despite initial reports that technical issues had resulted in the accident, the cause was found to be spatial disorientation of the pilot following the loss of the attitude indicator. Flying in poor weather conditions, the flight crew would have had to rely only on their instruments; such a situation is known as instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The failure of the attitude indicator was caused by the failure of both generators and the crew using an outdated checklist and not adhering to a checklist; the battery was therefore drained of power in less than half the time that it should have been able to supply power for.
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|Photos of 9N-AHE at Airliners.net|
|Photos of 9N-AHE at JetPhotos.net|
|Photo of 9N-AHE cockpit at Flickr|