Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bangalore: Damaged chopper cleared from apartment complex

Crane brings it down avoiding high-tension power lines 

The two-seater helicopter belonging to HAL Rotary Wing Academy, which was damaged after it made an emergency landing on the roof of a five-storey apartment in G.M. Palya near Byappanahalli here Thursday, was brought down by a hydraulic crane and taken to HAL Friday evening.

After partially dismantling the Schweizer-300C, a seven-member team from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Hyderabad, inspected the 700-kg chopper which was brought down from the terrace of Maithri Opulence. Technicians dismantled its rotor blades, battery and some other parts before the chopper was lifted off the terrace.

Technical snag

The U.S.-make chopper, on a training sortie, had developed a technical snag and force-landed in the unlikeliest of locations by Pilot Air Commodore (retd.) Roj Assey with trainee Captain Digvijay Singh by his side at 4.25 p.m. on Thursday. Sources at the HAL said the DGCA team recorded the statements of the pilots as well as those of some residents.

The DGCA will constitute a panel to ascertain the cause of the forced landing.

The photographs of the damaged chopper, dismantling and shifting activities and the recorded statements will be handed over to the probe panel. The DGCA officials will also be in touch with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at HAL Airport, the sources added.

A police official said DGCA and HAL had mooted airlifting the chopper by attaching it to a bigger one, but abandoned the idea as infeasible.
Exercise begins

The engineers started dismantling the parts around 11 a.m., and finished the job by 2 p.m. However, the lifting operations commenced only around 6 p.m. It took a mere 20 minutes to bring it down, watched by fascinated residents.
Narrow road

On the other hand, it was the movement of the crane that was a problem as the road leading to the apartment is very narrow. Moreover, the high-tension power line overhead restricted the crane's mobility.

Once the chopper was brought down, it was a struggle to mount it on the open lorry that had been brought to the spot.

Later, it was taken away in a container lorry.

Some 60 personnel from the police and Fire and Emergency Services were present.

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