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. Not Surprised

    I know this isn't very politically correct... but it is India. Have you seen how these people drive? And that is not prejudice in the least, you should seriously check the statistics of the amount of people that die in/have car accidents there just because they can't operate vehicles correctly. It's ludicrous. What makes you think they could fly a plane any better?

    December 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |

    How is this news if it is from MAY 25, SOOOOO LAME

    December 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. flossmore

    I soiled my shorts just reading about this!!

    December 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. aka

    the pilot should be rewarded and named , these are the great people who need to be named ! well done pilot ..

    December 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Burl

    You think this is funny. It happened to me on a TWA flight Iwas on in 1979 when I was in college. It is the first and only time I literally soiled my pants in fear. No joke. It was scary! But the pilot regained control and we landed.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob

    Disengage autopilot, pull back on yoke. Any pilot / co-pilot should easily be able to do that. How does someone send a plane diving and banking almost 30 degrees while adjusting their seat? A side from a flailing epileptic seizure that is.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    At least the pilots were able to find new jobs.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jabusse

    I don't believe he was simply adjusting his seat. He was probably being assaulted by a tsa agent.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. skyrydre

    As a retired 73 driver it is impossible to imagine a qualified co-pilot being unable to cope with the situation described. Sending this individual back to being a baggage handler puts him way too close to airplanes.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. whyme

    plane was having a allegry attack and trying to sneez the pilot out of nose by blowing hard , after all even plane is a human being uknow and can have bad cold

    December 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mayan Man

    Push the red dot on your forehead.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. The Maestro

    It appears that even airline pilots are now outsourced with 3rd world qualifications. Good luck with that.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JBFO

    but many airlines in India use foreign captains with clueless Indian copilots.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Striker

    Surely, you can't be serious.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tallyphil

    An Airbus would have broken apart in the first 2,000 feet. Boeing–proof that "American Built" still stands for something.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
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