It was March 6, 2009. A 14-seater prototype aircraft called Saras Prototype 2 crashed during a trial flight in the outskirts of Bengaluru, killing all three crew members — two pilots of the Indian Air Force and a flight engineer.
During the investigation, the cockpit voice recorder disclosed the commander calling out, “aircraft has departed”, just 10 seconds before the crash, indicating that the plane had gone out of control as soon as it took off.
The 75-page investigation report pinpointed human errors, but did not spare the manufacturer of the plane, Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), for devising engine relight procedures — a midair test that involves switching off an engine before switching it on again — without consulting the propeller manufacturer MT-Propeller of Germany. Read more