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)
  1. Apu

    What do you want, he thought he was driving a taxi cab!

    December 1, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sue Harris

    Where do I book a ticket? Air India sounds like a carnival ride!

    December 1, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ginger

    The whole story is too bizarre.

    Maybe he was trying to ditch the plane like the copilot of EgyptAir 990 allegedly did, and had to cook up this story when the pilot retured to save the day.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      I think you're on to something.

      December 1, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Really

    "Adjusting the seat" sounds like "playing with the controls" while the pilot was away.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. YukinoJudas

    This is only funny because no one was hurt. I can only imagine what the passengers were thinking while they took a bite of their in flight meal. Crazy story to tell.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Liz

    Did anyone notice that this happened in May and we are not hearing about it until now?!?!

    December 1, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Very good point.

      December 1, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. LaughDream

    OMG...everyone knows that when this happens all you have to do is pull the AIR BRAKE. Didn't that co-pilot ever watch Bugs Bunny cartoons? This whole incident could have been easily avoided.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. MA

    Another example of Indian stupidity..We have already seen their incompetent doctor killed so many people before.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Patel

    airindia is the worst airline ever, The plane is diry, employee's cant speak english, food is uncooked, bathrooms are dirty, if you dont believe me google Air India reviews.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. bob

    thank you come again!

    December 1, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nivek

    Ummm – kinda' basic.... cut the power (see those levers to your left?) and pull back (see that steery wheel thing in front of you?) level off and coast for a bit. Sheesh. Has the kid ever flown before? What kind of elementary trainng did he have? This is all so stupid.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    This is why you don't let Ackmed the Dead Terrorist fly the plane..."Silence! I Keel you!!!"

    December 1, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      its Ahmed dude!!

      December 1, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      actually, it's Achmed the Dead Terrorist

      December 1, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kboss

    I hope the pilot finished peeing before he had to run back. What if he was mid-crap? That sucks.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Calvin

    Told him not to eat he fish

    December 1, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Drobes

    JC your post has nothing to do with the article? It was a Boeing plane. A 737 is made my boeing not Airbus. So I really dont understand your point? Plus this article has nothing to do with the aircraft but has to do with the co-pilot hitting the controls whitch would turn the auto pilot off and that is was cause the plane to go into a dive. The co-pilot paniced and the pilot has to get back in there and pull the plane out of a dive. Boeing is also having issues with there new aircraft that is the testing stage right now. Also the Engines on the Airbus that have had issues are made by Rolls Royce, not Airbus.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Please review rules question-mark usage. Thanks.

      December 1, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      also, click the REPLY link on the comment you are trying to respond to!!

      December 1, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
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