The 7.43pm crash of an Indian Army HAL-built Dhruv advanced light helicopter yesterday in Kashmir happened to be the third accident of the type in less than a month, a streak that has set off alarm bells once again within HAL. Last night's accident, in which two Army pilots Lt Col Rajesh Gulati and Major Tahir Khan
were killed, was preceded by two crashes of Dhruv copters from the lot exported to Ecuador -- one on Jan 13 and the other on Jan 28 (Ecuador has lost four Dhruvs of the seven it has operated since 2009). There were no casualties in the two Ecuador accidents involving the Dhruv last month.
An HAL team dispatched to Ecuador on Jan 15 is part of accident investigations at a time when the country has restricted use of the Dhruvs to operational flights, and not for training or executive transport flights. HAL sources say preliminary information suggests the causes of the two January accidents are different.
The Sarang Dhruv aerobatics team is scheduled to perform at Aero India this month.
Labels: Accidents, Aircraft And Helicopters, HAL