The trainee pilot escaped unhurt although the Cessna 172-R aircraft was badly damaged during landing on the main runway of the international airport at 2.45 p.m.

The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started an inquiry into the collapse of the nose wheel of a Cessna 172-R aircraft during a solo training flight in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

The trainee pilot escaped unhurt although the newly acquired aircraft was badly damaged during landing on the main runway of the international airport at 2.45 p.m. The first three landings were uneventful. During approach the fourth time, the trainee pilot faced problems. The nose wheel and the middle portion got damaged, sources said. The fire services wing of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) rushed to the scene but there was no fire or injury, sources said.

The aircraft was swiftly removed from the runway and flight operations were not affected, AAI sources said.

A DGCA team, headed by Deputy Director, Southern Region, Dorairaj carried out a detailed inspection of the aircraft. Preliminary inquiry pointed to error on the part of the trainee pilot, sources said. Only a detailed inquiry would reveal whether there were technical snags, Mr. Dorairaj said. The Rs.1.7-crore, U.S.-made Cessna 172-R aircraft was inducted into the fleet of the State-owned Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology here on February 7.