Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting
November 30th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting

The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report.

According to the report from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the co-pilot panicked and was unable to execute the proper procedures as the jetliner dropped from 37,000 feet at a 26-degree angle. The plane and its 113 passengers were saved when the pilot, who’d gone on a bathroom break, used an emergency code to get into the locked cockpit, jumped back into his seat and grabbed the controls to bring the plummeting plane out of its dive.

The aircraft would have broken apart if the descent had continued, the aviation agency report said. The aircraft was not damaged and no one was injured, the report said.

After the pilot, 39, regained control of the plane, he told passengers, who were in the middle of a meal when the jet plunged, that the plane had “went through an air pocket and that is why there was a rapid descent,” according to the report.

The aviation agency report concluded that the 25-year-old co-pilot had not been trained in the specific scenario the jet encountered and “probably had no clue to tackle this kind of emergency.”

Neither the pilot nor co-pilot were named in the report.

The Air India Express flight was en route from Dubai to Pune, India, on May 25 when the incident occurred.

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Filed under: Air travel • India • Plane emergency landing • Travel
soundoff (962 Responses)


    November 30, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. American Legend

    To Prevent This Type of Incidents in The Future, The Pilots Must Use Diapers On board!

    November 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. I miss Nielsen

    looks like I picked the wrong time to quit sniffing glue

    November 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Geez

    May he should have called Indian Tech Support.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rob Hannigan

    I think they need to do a much better job in watching who is working on getting these jets working and ready for flight. An the Captain Co-pilot and crew need to recheck everything. I know they don't get paid much however they are in a position in what they work in can be turned into a fire ball.
    They get paid they should check everything know everything that is suppose to be on the plane. Ask everyone say if there is a bag. If it belongs to no one of the flight crew then they through it off. If it was someones bag or well you didn't speak up when you had a chance it was not claimed so it will not fly.
    The possibilities it could be a bomb or something that could cause they plane to crash is just cause enough for leaving it in the air port. It can be sent by Fed-EX or UPS if or when its checked its cleared to fly. This plane could have been flying any way. The CO-Pilot seat could have been rigged that something happened it would cause the plane to go into a noise dive.

    November 30, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DJ

    It's the same thing as happened to those two who overflew Minneapolis by lots of miles: the co-pilot fell asleep on the wheel!

    November 30, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Captain Oveur

    Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

    November 30, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Heydummy

    THis be some SRS NEWZ here considering it happened some 6 months ago. GJ cnn!

    November 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. assume crash position

    That copilot wasn't Frank Abagnale Jr. was he?

    November 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mrguard

    There are many factual error in this report:
    1. first of all the airplane was operated by emirates..not air india express...
    2. it happened in April
    See the actual news here:

    November 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    I hope the idiot co-pilot got fired and lost his license, but doubtful in India.

    November 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Cannot Walk On Oil

      He got a job offer with the India FAA.

      November 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DWI

    The co-pilot should be charged with DWI – "Driving while Indian". I see a lot of these Indian bad drivers here in NJ. If you want to play with your life, go to Edison NJ and drive.

    November 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tristan


    Good heavens! Did the writer of this article believe that "had went" is acceptable? Had gone, yes, but never "had went"- this quote should never have been imbedded after "had". It should have read: the plane had gone "through..."

    November 30, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lynn

    This thread is EPIC! The best one I've read on CNN in a very long time.

    November 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    Air India's National Motto, "We fly like we drive!"

    November 30, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • DWI

      Like this motto lol!!

      November 30, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • KingofFlying

      Talk to Lindsay Logan and your wife first

      December 1, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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