Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twice Lucky: Pilot In Yesterday's Su-30 Crash Also Survived 1st MKI Crash In 2009


Two crashes five years apart. Two punch-outs. Two very close shaves. Twice lucky. That's the story of the pilot in command of the Su-30 MKI that crashed yesterday in Pune: Because it turns out he was also the pilot in command of the first Indian Su-30 MKI that crashed in 2009. And both crashes with apparent similarities.

Wing Commander Sidharth Vishwas Munje survived the Su-30 MKI's first crash in Indian service five years ago, while his co-pilot on that flight Wing Command Pushpendra Singh Nara succumbed to injuries sustained post-ejection. In yesterday's crash, both Munje and his co-pilot Flying Officer Anup Kumar survived without any major injuries and currently being treated at a Pune military hospital.

Similarities too. Both times, Munje and his co-pilot ejected at very low altitude. [Not engine trouble the first time as I earlier wrote -- see Jagan Pillarisetti's post in comments and this post he points out which reported the 2009 crash]. In 2009, a technical glitch had triggered a series of events that resulted in the inadvertent switching off of power to the flight control system (instead of the armament master switches right next to it), boiling down in the investigation technically to a pilot error, though overall to a design anomaly that needed urgent correction. Either way, the 'pilot error' conclusion wasn't enough for the IAF to keep Munje away from a cockpit.

Details of precisely what went wrong yesterday though are still trickling in, but what's available strongly suggests that Munje and his co-pilot were heroes in the air yesterday. They grappled to control a doomed fighter and eject only after ensuring it would glide into a sugarcane field, away from a built-up area that may have been the site of impact had the pilots chosen to eject earlier. The zone where the aircraft may have gone down is a built up area that has therefore likely had a close shave. [Update on Oct 22: The IAF has clarified that the crash took place during final approach, and that the ejection seats inadvertently fired].

The IAF is still piecing together the full sequence of events, though it appears clear at this time that Munje and his junior had mere seconds to take a decision after lift-off. It isn't clear yet what happened once they got airborne from Lohegaon. Will be staying with this story to get you more this week.

Photo / The Indian Express

25 comments :

Jagan said...

Unfortunately the first crash in which wg cdr munje ejected was not engine trouble.

It was a combination of factors, including the close placement of the swtich for the Armament Master close to that of the FCS. Munje inadvertantly switched off the FCS instead of the Armament Master switch. Then there was parachute malfuction for Wg Cdr Nara as it was revealed teh aircraft was sitting in the sun too long and this effected the straps? very bare info available.. but it was not engine trouble.

All the details via a RAvi sharma report (I think Hindu) at http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Database/Accidents/details.php?crno=2009004

Shiv Aroor said...

Right Jagan. Confused it with one of the following crashes. Tks, corrected.

Anonymous said...

Pilots should refuse to fly these coffins...

Anonymous said...

as jagan pointed out, read

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Database/Accidents/details.php?crno=2009004

it was poor aircraft design and pilot error in the first crash of Munje in april 2009, though it was in the face of a technical glitch.

The second pilot nara died because the harness broke due to excessive exposure to sun on the tarmac.

maybe the flight computer switches were accidentally switched offed due to haste in solving the technical problem, a irreversible mistake.

I was wondering what would be this time, the thrust vectors are surely deployed, and they can't be used if engines have flamed out. So it was used when the engines on.

also notice there was different thrust applied to the engines. Which is usual, but then the vertical stabilizers tell a different story!

Anonymous said...

According to the IAF they will be heroes even if they crash another 50 jets.

Flanker said...

switched off the FCS!!! What a fool.... and he was allowed to return to flying service!! seriously.

In a domestic airline a instructor was dismissed for landing nose first, that too due to bad visibility.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:14

Crashing ftr jets is not like playing video games. There is no reboot. You make it sound like someone can actually enjoy putting their life in peril.

Anonymous said...

How long will IAF blame others for pilot errors? He should have been grounded after first incident. They don't maintain planes well, they don't complain when defense ministry supplies they sub standard parts, they don't object to design flaws if at all any. It's always that after the incident the pilot is the hero and IAF the victim. It's time they look in their sheets for once and cry foul.

Anonymous said...

As*hol* Muje must be grounded now...

he is pilot by giving money to officials of IAF in SSB

Bloody fool pilot making our country down...

Jagan said...

Ok, Now I regret posting the correction to Shiv's article. The purpose was add details to the write up, but now it is being taken as material to denigrate the pilot. Human error is part and parcel of service life. And flying fighters is the second riskiest profession in the world. It is likely some will have multiple accidents, ejections. how many times have we fallen off bikes and banged our cars? (sometimes seriously). Its unfair to get personal against someone just because his name came up in multiple accidents!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back with quality posts Shiv.

Anonymous said...

Jagan, I appreciate your clarification at 0455. IAF has cleared the pilot of wrong-doing and brought him back to the cockpit. Making a mistake is not the same thing as being negligent.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jagans comments.

Anonymous said...

It seems that he accidentally switched OFF the Fly By Wire (FBW), instead of the MASTER ARΜ SWITCH, which was found in SAFE MODE. The same pilot has escaped safely, now, twice. A record.

Anonymous said...

It seems that he accidentally switched OFF the Fly By Wire (FBW), instead of the MASTER ARΜ SWITCH, which was found in SAFE MODE. The same pilot has escaped safely, now, twice. A record.

Anonymous said...

Munje might not know anything else but at least he's an expert at ejecting.

Anonymous said...

Jagan flying a fly by wire modern jet is not like riding a bike or a car.... its a completely different ball game. Also mistakes don't happen that easily, there are strict mechanisms in place.

but that said humans are humans, and I look forward to unmanned and autonomous fighters of the future. US are already developing it. It would be the norm after 25 years.


Also in the court of inquiry Wing Commander Munje wasn't blamed because it was a inspection flight with Wing Commander Nara, who is supposed to take all blame whatsoever. Even if he couldn't do anything. That is the rule. Otherwise say any other flight Munje would have faced action.

Its psychologically very difficult if you survive a crash and are allowed to fly again. I was involved in a tyre burst in my second solo flight in hjt 16... it haunted me as long as i flew that aircraft.

I don't know what Munje or flying officer anup go through if they fly again. Its not easy. During the mandatory grounding period there is a refresher course and lot of other tests. Which some times can be best described as humiliating.

humanheart said...

Stop speculating and wait for findings eh all sherlock Holmes.. The man is a fighter pilot with capabilities and dedication unfathomable to any one of you kaalu Indian mentalities..shit happens.. But seriously stay in your own businesses which I'm sure you already disgrace.

Anonymous said...

@humanheart: If he was to act like a normal human making mistakes flying a multi million dollar plane then I prefer him to wash dishes at my home. Just because is pilot in the air force doesn't make them any special. All I know is that normal people in normal jobs get fired for even smaller mistakes than that. He is a goddamn pilot and I don't know what he was doing during training sessions and simulations if he just cannot pick the right switch to turn off. How is he supposed to handle a pressure situation like an actual war. All I know is that they have no right to waste the hard earned money of general public. They get paid a lot more and live a lavish lifestyle which many can't afford so they should just earn that lifestyle or rather quit and make way for somebody deserving

humanheart said...

stop the bullshit of 'tax payer's' money..how much tax do you pay and since when?? every armed force officer has been paying tax from the first salary he/she draws when he is 18-19 year old.munje himself is paying tax to the tune of 16-18 grand per month..so u are not doing any ehsaan on any armed person..plus before you write anything questioning capability ask your timid existence if you have actually the guts to do something for which even insurance company shit away from covering you. it is a dangerous profession which officers undertake not to earn moolah and do bakwaas as you. the feeling of patriotism is something which shylocks like you can't even fathom..

Anonymous said...

First thing I pay tax but if you asshole can not be blind then I was talking of general public. Have the guts and go to a govt office ask a peon how much he earns and how long he works for that money and he pays tax too from his meager salary. there are lakhs of such employees in India. If it's not for money then Mr. blind check the records of how many IAF pilots have left IAF and become commercial pilots in last ten years just for fucking money's sake. That number is staggering. I have an a friend in IAF and I have high level central govt employee at my house too. I am not a fanatic shit like you. I have seen things and known shit so I commented and I have been following livefist for last 3 years but I have never commented earlier. Munde has no right to waste $60 million worth shit to waste. Had he been a commercial pilot his career would have ended after first crash. Get out of your shit hole and see the world and then talk shit

Anonymous said...

I was told that the south indian pilots are the best fighter pilots in iaf...north indian pilots normally fly transport planes and helos.

humanheart said...

Mr anonymous I pity you. You look like one who failed upsc ..I was told to never argue with pigs as they will drag u down to their level of shit and try to beat u with their experience..enjoy ur miserable self..

Anonymous said...

@anon

You mentioned a 'staggering' number of iaf pilots leaving for 'fucking' money sake. Do you have any source or its the iaf friend of yours. A large number of offrs leave iaf every year, pilots inclusive. Very rarely you see a pilot leaving unless he has missed his promotions or superannuated. If you have proof otherwise please put it up. Moreover adding adjectives and badmouthing a pilot is easy coz he is unable to put out his side of the story. So i request you take it easy and let the organisation make the call. Your iaf friend would tell you that iaf is not very generous in dealinf with errant crew.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you, in an actual event of war a mig-21 Bis and perhaps a retired (from attack role) Canberra or Hawker Hunter will play as much important role as these sukhois and m2000.

in kargil war the 2 odd Canberras did most of the recce and target identification tasks.

Mig-23bn bombers flew most bombing sorties before the m2000 were made available, accompanied by mig-29s and 21s

Nimble and fast Mig-21s were used as baits to distract the enemy, they drew most of the anti-aircraft fire.

Do-228s were used to jam the enemy radars.


Its not just su-30s that will win the war.....on the contrary a few losses of these planes will make things difficult...dangerous proposition.