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. Um.yeah

    Some co-pilot! What, he cant pull back on the yolk or press the auto-pilot return system on his own.....Isn't a co-pilot a pilot? This makes no sense....

    December 1, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. YoHoHo and A Bottle of Rum

    No, Intellgencia, not all own or work in 7-11...some own or work at Dairy Queens....catchow!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mel

    Uh, should someone who doesn't know how to fix those types of situation REALLY be left alone like that? It shows he has no idea what he was doing and should just be sent back to flight school...

    As for the passengers, I would've pooped my panties if I were them.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. goldendck

    His name is Bahadur. His brother Frontdur. With his cousin Screendur watching his little brother backdur. Stick with cooking curry and not flying planes.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Caliguy

      wow, racism at its best- congrats to your folks for raising you this way

      December 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sskar

      This post got past a moderator? Amazing...

      December 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Trevor

    Holy smokes!!! A jet pilot who is not trained on getting out of a dive!?!?! How can that possibly be? How can you even have someone who is 25 years old behind they controls in a commercial airliner? Something is seriously wrong here! Don't blame the untrained pilot, blame the people that certified him.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jerome

    "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.”

    are you kidding me? then what exactly was he trained for? looking at the automatic pilot? what separates commercial and private flight licenses is, in theory at least, countless hours spent training on just these kinds of emergencies!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • sid_22

      Phew...It happens in India all the time.

      December 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. IndianLover

    Would you like a slurpee ?

    December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Terror-ence

    This story certainly doesn't add up AT ALL. A co-pilot that didn't know how to bring the plane out of a dive?? And the timing of this...just so happened when the pilot went to use the restroom! Sounds like a suicide attempt to me and anyone who knows anything about aviation.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • NOTfunny

      Ouch, what you say does make sense, especially sense the pilot had to use an EMERGENCY CODE in order to gain access to the cabin.

      He must have been locked out my the pilot.???!/!?!!!????

      December 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bear of the North

    It was Bush's fault

    December 1, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    He should be fired and sent to jail. That co-pilot is very very very stupid.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Maria

    We are just NOW hearing this???

    December 1, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jukebox

    An Air india Express landing.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Charlotte

    When I was traveling in India some years ago, I had been warned about the domestic airlines (Air India international flights are fine). I'm actually glad that, true to their reputation, all my domestic flights during that trip were delayed multiple times and then cancelled, forcing me to use ground transport to get around the subcontinent (frightening enough if you ever saw all the terrible bus and truck accidents littering the highways). Best option for domestic travel within India is the trains!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sam

    Good thing he didn't put the tray table would have been all over.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Noah

    This news is late because it was a cover up in which Wikileaks release recently

    December 1, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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