The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the operations of pilot training academy, Redbird Flight Training Academy, from all the bases in the country following recent incidents, highlighting safety issues.

According to the aviation watchdog, DGCA, during the last one week, Redbird Flight Training Academy’s aircraft have been involved in two occurrences leading to crash landing of the aircraft.

On October 19, the Tecnam P2008JC single-engine aircraft with the registration VT-RBC took off from runway 11 at Baramati, with its sole occupant, who was the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), on board. 

Shortly after reaching an altitude of around 100 feet during the initial climb, the crew encountered an engine-related issue resulting in a loss of power. In response to this unexpected situation, the crew made the decision to abort the flight and executed a crash landing just outside the airport's northern perimeter.

“The purpose of this sortie was to investigate a previous abnormal noise and brake issue observed during a prior flight; however, the crew did not report or document this issue for subsequent maintenance action by the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME). As a consequence of the crash landing, the aircraft sustained significant damage, while the crew fortunately only suffered minor injuries,” said a senior DGCA official. 

On October 22, another incident involving a Tecnam P2008JC single-engine aircraft, registered as VT-RBT, occurred. This aircraft had two occupants on board, comprising an instructor and a trainee, who were conducting a general flying training sortie at Baramati. While climbing to the assigned altitude of 2500 feet, the aircraft experienced a loss of power. 

In response to this in-flight issue, the instructor promptly decided to terminate the training sortie and initiated a forced landing in a field located approximately two nautical miles from the airport.

The forced landing resulted in the aircraft flipping over, and various components, including the landing gear, propeller, wings, and fuselage, sustained damage. Fortunately, there were no injuries to either of the occupants, demonstrating the effectiveness of the instructor's handling of the emergency situation.

“These occurrences indicate gaps in maintenance and operational elements. DGCA has accordingly suspended the operations of Redbird Flight Training Academy at all their bases in the country. DGCA is also undertaking special maintenance audit and proficiency checks for the trainer/examiners of Redbird Flight Training Academy before permitting resumption of their operations,” said the official.