The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, told the Lok Sabha on Friday that the report of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation inquiring the crash of the helicopter accident which killed Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy will be completed by the end of the month.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel on Thursday informed the Lok Sabha that the report of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) enquiring into the crash of the helicopter ferrying former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy would be completed by the month-end.
Responding to a question of Botcha Jhansi Lakshmi (Congress) on helicopter accidents with specific reference to the crash that took Rajasekhara Reddy’s life, Mr. Patel sought to dispel speculations about the airworthiness of the chopper the former Chief Minister was using and the flying experience of the pilots.
At the same time, the Minister did concede that the pilot should have foreseen bad weather because he was flying on VFR (Visual Flying Rules). He did not divulge any more details on the issue; stating that enquiries were on by DGCA and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
As for Ms. Lakshmi’s query on whether the government proposed to make it mandatory for all helicopters to have a satellite phone on board, Mr. Patel replied that such phones would have no effect on safety as they can only be an additional tool of communication. And, all helicopters and aircraft are anyway monitored by radar and other communication devices.
Referring to the member’s point about VVIPs forcing helicopter pilots to take risks, the Minister said there were DGCA guidelines for VVIP flights and sought to assure the House that Indian regulations for helicopters were in accordance with international regulations. This he said in particular in view of Ms. Lakshmi’s question on whether the Aircraft Rules, 1937, was outdated.