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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • As per some reports, the crash took place in the Nanjappanchathiram area and the weather had been heavily misty. Is bad weather behind the mishap?
  • A glance at the reason for 5 crashes involving Mi-17V5, the human error pops out predominantly. The reasons speak all.
  • On January 10, 2021, a Mi-17V5 copter of the South Sudanese Air Force crashed upon landing, though no casualties were reported despite 17 onboard. The reason was a mechanical failure.

With a nose akin to a 'Dolphin', the Russian-made Mi-17V5 is considered among the smartest helicopters in the world. Even the US Department of Defense (DoD), while procuring multi-role helicopters for the partner nations, rated this dolphin-nosy Mi-175 high among a list of 23 alternative copters, including Chinook, Eurocopter and AugustaWestland.

The US DoD has, even, compared and contrasted the US-made Chinook (47-D and International) copters with the Russian made Mi-175 but cast its judgement in favour of the Russian made terming it as a least complicated and at par with Chinook in capabilities to undertake missions at both high and low altitudes, in hot weather.

For which, during the initial days of 'Operation Enduring Freedom', US Army Special Forces had extensively used Mi-17V5 for multiple missions in Afghanistan. And the Indian Air Force calls it their workhorse.

However, the Mi-17V5 has a very chequered show when it comes to crashing rate. Inducted in the Indian Air Force in 2013, the IAF has recorded as many as 6 crashes, including today's crash with CDS Bipin Rawat on board, during the last 9 years.

Mi-17V5 - Crash History In India

  • The copter crashed first on Jun 25, 2013, when it was engaged in a rescue mission following devastating floods in Uttarakhand's Kedarnath. In that crash, 9 lives were lost.
  • Though no exact reason had been outlined then, as per Aviation security the Gauchar helipad from which the copter was operating was not a regular air force base but was used as a base for the rescue operation.
  • The second crash of the copter took place on Oct 19, 2016. And the place again is Uttarakhand. No casualties were reported in this accident. The copter met with an accident when it was participating in a joint exercise between the Indian Army and IAF.
  • The reason narrated as per the aviation security is the copter had sustained a hard landing just after it took off.
  • On Oct 6, 2017, a Mi-17V5 copter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh while on an air maintenance mission. The copter had flown to Yangtse to drop off kerosene jerry cans Number of casualties were at 7.
  • The reason cited by IAF later was the tail rotor of the copter had flown off leading to the crash.
  • Many experts had then blamed the mishap on the lack of full flight simulators, which in turn had led to not having full-fledged training to handle critical emergency sorties.
  • On Apr 3, 2018, the workhorse of IAF met with its 4th crash in Uttarakhand's Kedarnath. Though there were 6 onboard, no fatalities were reported.
  • The reason for the crash had been the aircraft caught fire post-collision with an iron girder while landing at a helipad near Kedarnath Temple. The aircraft was on a transportation mission of construction materials.
  • On Feb 27, 2019, the Russian 'dolphin' copter met with its fifth crash in its 7th year at Budgam in J&K. Number of deaths reported was 7.
  • The reason is IAF's own missile had hit the copter.
  • On Dec 8, 2021, the Mi-17V5 with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and other top officials onboard had its 6th crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. 14 were on board. 13, including the CDS and his wife, confirmed dead.
  • The reason is not known yet. A court of inquiry was set up by the IAF.

The Key Takeaway

A glance at the reason for 5 crashes involving Mi-17V5, the human error pops out predominantly. The reasons speak all.

2021 Mi-17V5 Crash in Sudan

On January 10, 2021, a Mi-17V5 copter of the South Sudanese Air Force crashed upon landing, though no casualties were reported despite 17 onboard.

The reason cited was a slight vibration and oscillation in the main gearbox area. The oil pressure reading in the main gearbox ranged from 2.5 kgf/cm2 to 3.5 kgf/cm2. Low oil pressure was the cause.

In this instance, the main reason behind the crash was mechanical, not human.

Tamil Nadu Crash Today  

As per some reports, the crash took place in the Nanjappanchathiram area and the weather had been heavily misty. Is bad weather behind the mishap?

Time to take a look at the capabilities of Mi-17V5.

Mi-17V5 - The Skyrider

Manufactured by Rosoboron Export, the Mi-17V-5 is a military-cum-transport helicopter and is designed to carry personnel, cargo and equipment.

It has a full glass cockpit, advanced avionics, weather radar and powerful aero engines for high altitude operations.

As per IAF, it is being exploited for various civil and military operations such as transportation, paratrooper induction, search & rescue, medical evacuation, fire fighting and Nuclear Chemical Biological warfare.

Its Night Vision Goggles compatibility enables unhindered operations even during low visibility and night conditions

  • The manufacturer Rosoboron Export listed its top advantage as its operability in any geographical and climatic conditions, day and night, in adverse weather. Besides, it also claims that the copter is capable to land on unprepared sites at night and in limited adverse weather conditions.
  • In the year 2013, however, the copter met with a crash when landing at a non-regular airbase.

 

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