Flying an airplane especially a commercial one is no easy feat. Pilots are tasked with the responsibility of hundreds of lives that depend on them to reach their destination safely. At such a time, even a minor miscommunication could spell disaster.
This is exactly what happened in the Mumbai airspace when the miscommunication between the pilot and the Air Traffic Controller could have resulted in a major mishap. However, one woman’s presence of mind was the knight in shining armour for 261 passengers.
The incident occurred on 7 February 2018, Wednesday when a Vistara flight descended from its assigned height of 29,000 feet and was flying at 27,100 feet. Little did the pilot know that an Air India flight was approaching them from the opposite direction.
As reported by Times Now, the Vistara flight had a woman pilot manning the plane as the captain had taken a toilet break. The miscommunication resulted in both the planes being seconds away from colliding with each other.
However, the woman commander of the Air India flight, Anupama Kohli did not lose her nerve and prevented a huge accident. She paid heed to the approaching plane and monitored the situation closely.
She could hear the ATC and the Vistara co-pilot talking to each other with the former asking her why she was at this level. To this, she replied that she was instructed to do so. Reportedly, the incident is speculated to be a mix up on what instructions were given to which lady.
Immediately, a resolution advisory (RA) came — “climb, climb, climb.” Following RA instructions, Captain Kohli immediately climbed and turned right to steer clear of the Vistara plane.
According to recent developments, air traffic controllers handling both the flights have been suspended. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also grounded two Vistara pilots over the incident. However, Vistara maintained that its pilots were told to drop the altitude to 27,000 and they “did not do so inadvertently.”
It is yet to see what caused such a huge negligence but for now, we are thankful to Captain Anupama Kohli’s calm nature that allowed her to act in a sensible manner in the face of adversity. Take a bow, Captain!