DHRUV CRASH UPDATE #6: New Inquiry Team Ordered, CVR/FDR To Be Shipped To Bangalore

The Ecuadorian government has decided to formally constitute a new investigation board into the October 23 Dhruv crash. The new board will officially include the three-member expert team from HAL that landed in the country on October 31 -- up until now, they were providing outside consultancy and analysis to the first Board that was comprised only of Ecuadorian personnel. In the next one week, one or two Board members from the Ecuadorian side and one of the Board members from HAL will bring the Dhruv's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder to Bangalore, where the data will be downloaded and analysed jointly. HAL has already made preparations to receive and analyse the data at Bangalore. An officer from the IAF's Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) will also be roped in for the analysis.

Incidentally, according to the latest update I recieved today from my sources in Ecuador today, the HAL team had an opportunity to visit the crash site yesterday (November 1) and were also taken to inspect the crashed Dhruv. Apart from this, video footage and still photographs of the crash and the Dhruv were shared with the team.

The prima facie overview conducted by the HAL team over the last two days, incidentally, has virtually confirmed the Cyclic Saturation theory that I reported here two days ago. The three Dhruv were flying at 60-metres in a line-astern formation directly above the runway on October 27 during the military day parade. It had planned that the three-Dhruv formation would break to the left, with a three-second gap between them, after passing the parade to starboard. FAE-604, the ill-fated chopper, was in the middle position. After the lead helicopter had executed its turn, FAE-604 began its turn after the agreed gap of three seconds. During the turn, according to my sources, the middle Dhruv entered the wake of the lead helicopter, thereby effectively forcing it out of the turn. When the pilot of FAE-604 attempted to get his Dhruv back into position, he appears to have exerted excessive bank to left, rolling in at a very high rate. This is precisely what, in all likelihood, caused the right cyclic saturation. And the 60-metre flying height gave the pilots no time to recover.

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