Mumbai: A shocking aspect of the Ghatkopar plane crash is that the pilots were initially not considering testing the flight on Thursday owing to unfavourable weather conditions. This is also confirmed by the relatives of the deceased pilots.
However, they received instructions from the Air Traffic Control that the aviation company, U Y Aviation Private Limited, was insistent that the test flight be undertaken as scheduled. The company belongs to a gutka baron. The main reason for this insistence, the relatives assert, was that two days ago the Instrumental Landing System had been installed in the ill-fated plane. U Y Aviation wanted the flight tested immediately. The two pilots were from King Flying club and worked with U Y Aviation; the two engineers were employees of Indamer Aviation Private Limited.
Urvinder Chauhan, a relative of Captain Pradeep Singh Rajput, said the aviation agency insisted on conducting the test flight on Thursday. “The family members of Pradeep informed me that the plane had to be tested on Thursday itself. We were against it. Despite unfavourable weather conditions the test was done,” claimed Chauhan.
Relatives and family members were seething with anger and refused to speak to the media as they were still trying to come to terms with the tragedy. Prabhat Kathuria, husband of Maria, the co-pilot, was upset at the aviation company sending her and the others on the test flight. “Maria and Rajput had informed the company that the weather condition in Mumbai was not good and they had apprehensions. However, the company forced them to take the test flight,” Kathuria told the media persons.
An aviation official said after the technical snag was detected on board, the pilots had placed a call to the Air Traffic Control and wanted permission for safe landing. “They had got the permission to land at the Mumbai airport main runway 27, which was less than three kilometres away, but they had to encircle mid-air due to congestion.’