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. Tarbash

    Thank you come again.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sherelm

    I think the co-pilot is now over here, designing cyber programs for us.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mayor of Jerktown

    That's what you get in a country that puts 300hr. pilots in the right seat. In the United States, a pilot would need to amass a minimum of 1,200 hours to even be considered for a right seat job in a 737, and would typically have more like 3000-4000 hrs and a captain gig under his belt either with the regionals or as a charter captain. China and India send these guys here by the boatload to get a commercial ticket at 250 hrs. and a multi engine addon and then teach them an A-320 or a 737 in a sim and set them free with the diapers still on. Good times!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Otto

    If the voice over the intercom sounds just like the voice from HP tech support, get off the plane!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • mian

      @otto funny funny good day "HP LOL ;0)

      December 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cleveland Steve


    December 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry

    I do this all the time while driving. Usually, I just hit a pedestrian or another car; no big deal.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. driving

    this should never ever fly again" i mean dive again' can you think about dieing that way' just waiting to hit the ground" my wife just got the iceing on the Cake" she will never fly now"""""""""""

    December 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jhb

    America is, as we speak, in that same type of nose-dive, but at 90 degrees and has no pilot.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason

    No I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande

    December 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sy

    Note to Self: Don't visit India.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bruno

    Third world standards of safety and training. Coming to a town near you. Various horrors that are routine in the third world were unknown here but soon will be just as common. Enjoy your open borders world and your globalism.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J

    Maybe he should practice going up and down on that roundy rounder rocket ride at Disneyland.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gabe

    can you imagine being in a middle of a dump and having to hop out because your co-pilot is plunging the plane to the ground?

    December 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    Heh, seems that 80% is good enough for this co-pilots training and certification in India.
    It's usually good enough I suppose. The Pilot must have the other part of the training.

    No more potty breaks for them.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. astralweeks

    In an effort to better train their pilots, Air India has just announced that all potential pilots will have to watch the video twice.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
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