The Telegraph
Thursday , January 24 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Snag causes near-miss on runway

A chartered aircraft carrying five persons almost landed on the wrong strip, allegedly because of a faulty runway guidance system at Calcutta airport, on Wednesday morning.

Airport officials said the Beechcraft King Air aircraft, operated by a chartered service provider, from Bhubaneswar was about to land on the primary runway at 9.05am, a busy hour at the airport. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) will probe the incident.

A snag in the localiser, one of the key equipment in the Category II instrument landing system (ILS), left the pilot confused.

“The localiser guides the flight and helps the pilot maintain the alignment with the runway’s centreline,” an official said.

The pilot was unable to calculate the centreline and the aircraft veered left towards the secondary runway, which was not operational at that time, officials said.

The air traffic control (ATC) personnel realised that the plane was about to land on the wrong runway and immediately warned the pilot. It was too late for the pilot to change course and so he was asked to make a go-around.

“If he had tried to land despite the shift, the aircraft could have landed on one side of the runway and that could have led to an accident,” an official said.

The aircraft landed safely at 9.21am and later flew back to Bhubaneswar.

Last week, two aircraft had come within seconds of a collison because of a communication gap with the ATC. The anti-collision device in one of the aircraft issued an alert and the pilot took the aircaft higher to avoid a mid-air collision.