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Pilot error results in Lulu chairman’s helicopter accident

- June 14, 2022

Dileep V Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram, June 14

The Civil Aviation Department has held the pilots responsible for the helicopter crash landing incident that occurred at Kochi on April 11, 2021. The helicopter that got crash-landed on a marshy land was carrying businessman MA Yusuf Ali, his wife, and two others who then escaped unhurt. The department’s investigation while ruling out the claim of the pilots that loss of power resulted in the accident also highlighted that weather is also not a factor in the incident.

“Non-adherence to standard operating procedures by the crew and lack of situational awareness is the contributory factor to the incident. Thus the handling of the helicopter is a primary factor in the incident,” reads an excerpt from the investigation report.

According to Veeraragavan K, who was investigation-in-charge, the crew did not monitor flight parameters and did not make any callout for taking corrective action.

“The crew maneuvered the helicopter with an unusual pitch attitude. But the increase in pitch attitude decreases the speed of the helicopter and the helicopter starts to lose altitude. To keep the helicopter flying at the same altitude, more power is needed. If more power is not provided, the helicopter descends faster,” reads an excerpt from the findings.

It was also found that the helicopter entered into a vortex ring state, an aerodynamic condition, which makes recovery difficult.

Meanwhile, the report while terming the incident as survivable also highlighted that nearby residents and police helped the rescue process and further movement to the hospital.

However, the report didn’t specify any safety recommendations to prevent like incidents in the future. 

Yusuf Ali, a business tycoon is the chairman and managing director of Lulu Group International and heads the list of Malayalis who entered the Forbes’ Billionaire List for 2022.