Free Press Journal

MiG-29K skids and catches fire in Goa, trainee pilot ejects to safety

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Dabolim : A MiG-29K aircraft skid off the runway and caught fire at Goa’s Dabolim International Airport on Wednesday, bringing back memories of the Dornier (Do-228) crash in 2015. Goa airport, which operates from the Indian Naval base INS Hansa, had to keep its runway closed for almost an hour after the incident. A statement of the Defence Ministry stated that the incident occurred when the fighter jet, manned by a trainee pilot, skidded.  The trainee pilot ejected safely.

In March 2015, the Dornier Do-228, belonging to the Navy Aviation Squadron, had taken off from INS Hansa on a training mission before it crashed; Wednesday’s crash was almost similar – only this time, it was a MIG-29K aircraft.

This is the first MiG-29 to be lost by the Navy which operates the jet off the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The fighter jet will also be deployed off the INS Vikrant, the first indigenous aircraft carrier being built for the Navy.


There have been reports of Indian Navy facing severe maintenance issues with regard to MiG-29K aircraft. The fighter has faced landing problems on the deck of INS Vikramaditya, esulting in frequent maintenance calls. A CAG report last year said the MiG-29K was technically accepted despite discrepancies and anomalies. Since induction in February 2010, 40 engines (62 percent) of the twin-engine MiG-29K fighters have been withdrawn from service due to design-related defects, according to the report.

B.C.H. Negi, the Airports Authority of India Director for the Goa airport, while speaking to The Free Press Journal, confirmed that the runway was closed for approximately an hour and the operations resumed around 1:15 pm.

MARCH 2015 CAG REPORT FINDINGS

The MiG-29K, which is a carrier borne multirole aircraft and the mainstay of the integral air defence, is riddled with problems relating to airframe, the RD MK-33 engine and the fly-by-wire 4 system. The aircraft were being technically accepted despite having discrepancies/anomalies. Serviceability of MiG-29K was low, ranging from 15.93 per cent to 37.63 per cent, and that of MiG-29KUB ranging from 21.30 per cent to 47.14 per cent.

The augmentation of infrastructure at Visakhapatnam is still at Detailed Project Report stage even six years after approval (December 2009). The Full Mission Simulator was assessed to be unsuitable for Carrier Qualification (CQ) simulator training for pilots, as the visuals did not support the profile.