In a big relief to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, pilot error was found to have caused the crash of the defence PSU’s Advance Light Helicopter (ALH).
“Dhruv in Ecuador in October”, a probe conducted in the U.S. and India into the mishap has revealed.
The crash during a military parade on October 28 in the South American country, injuring two pilots, was considered a major setback to India’s efforts to market its indigenous helicopters overseas.
The Ecuadorian Air Force, which bought five Dhruv ALHs from the Bangalore-headquartered HAL, had grounded the entire fleet till the probe it ordered into the mishap was completed.
However, the probe findings have come as a big relief for HAL, which has identified South America as one of the key export markets for Dhruv.
The probe revealed “over-manoeuvre of the pilot” led to the crash. “The pilot had taken a very deep left turn.
Because he took the left turn, he went down in height and didn’t have sufficient time to recover and hit the ground”, a senior HAL official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
An Ecuadorian investigation team was at HAL last week, armed with an independent probe — conducted with the help of flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder — that it had carried out in Washington.
“They had gone to the U.S. and did a neutral investigation there. They didn’t tell us the results. They came here and we did the probe. Then they (Ecquadorean team) told us whatever they did in Washington is exactly what the results we got here,” the official said here.
HAL can’t make the probe results public because it has a non-disclosure agreement with Ecuadorian Air Force, he said.