The Air India authority has grounded two of its pilots for the hard landing of an Airbus A319. The two pilots were in charge of the Mumbai-Rajkot flight of 29th May, 2010, which made a landing of 1.9G (i.e. a hard landing) on the Rajkot runway. This resulted in some passengers complaining of discomfort and inconvenience. And following this, the Air India management decided to ground those pilots pending investigation.
Incidentally, this decision to ground the pilots over hard landing came just three days before Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked airlines not to judge the quality of a landing on the basis of whether it was a hard landing or a soft one.
Personally I feel that the decision to ground those two pilots is completely unjustified. It has already been proved that the Indian airlines’ over obsession with soft landing entails strong threat to passenger safety. It is this attitude of airlines that forces pilots to go for soft landing even when they know that it is risky. In fact, as everybody knows it by now, that one possible reason behind the Mangalore air crash was the pilot’s desperation to avoid hard landing even though it seemed to be the only way out.
In any case, DGCA has now recognized the fact that the quality of landing has nothing to do with whether it is a hard landing or a soft one. Therefore, the Air India management should withdraw its decision and reinstate the pilots with immediate effect.
And one suggestion for the air passengers – Please stay away from complaining when your flight makes a hard landing. Yes, it causes inconveniences. But you must realize that if the pilot has made a hard landing, then there must have been some reason behind it.
Hard landing may entail inconvenience. But soft landing entails lack of safety. And you will certainly prefer an inconvenient landing rather than a risky one, right?
Please remember that it is your complaint on the occasion of a hard landing that is compelling the airlines to force their pilots to go for soft landing even when it is risky. So, please behave a bit responsibly.