A Pilot Counters Mamata Banerjee And Her Conspiracy Theory Of Assassination By Plane Crash

I am an ordinary guy. An ordinary guy who is a pilot. An ordinary guy who is a pilot and does not know whether to laugh or feel embarrassed about what happened in Parliament on 1st December 2016. The amount of wasted money, time and resources which my innocent countrymen will probably never know.

In 2012, it was said that one minute of work in Parliament costs Rs. 2.5 lakhs. Yesterday, an entire day was wasted because Mamata Banerjee and her party men insinuated that there was a plot to assassinate her. All the headlines, news reports and media outlets went out of their way to give this lady and her brigade of brigands free airtime. Before I begin, let me tell you that I have not spoken to any industry source and I don’t know any of the parties involved. I write with just two tools at my disposal – my experience and common sense.

An Indigo aircraft was carrying the almighty West Bengal Chief Minister and had taken off from Patna to Kolkata. According to TMC, the pilot was short of fuel and was not given clearance to land. The aircraft had only 8 minutes of fuel left before it was allowed to land.

“I may be killed but I will  not stop! – Mamata Banerjee”

6E 342 took off from Patna to Kolkata at 1935 hours (07:35 PM). It landed at 2045 hours (08.45 PM). The flight had to ‘hover’ over Kolkata for 25-30 minutes and was not given permission to land was the charge. Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight, however, took strong exception to “delayed permission from the ATC” for the flight to land and alleged that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM. A united Opposition today told the government that a high-level inquiry report should be tabled in Parliament on the incident. The airline gave a comprehensive statement trying to clarify all the facts. But who cares about facts?

In the Upper House, TMC’s Derek O’Brien led the charge against the government, stating that “if nobody’s life was at stake, then why emergency measures were activated?”

Let me try and explain you in brief how fuel policy for any commercial aircraft works in India.

If the aircraft has to go from A to B, it will obviously carry the fuel to reach B. In addition, the aircraft has 5% fuel margin for any enroute weather deviations or any other factor or contingency that can alter the planned flight. But what happens if there is congestion or bad weather at B? Because of sub continental weather patterns and bad infrastructure, it is very often the case. So to cater that the aircraft has about 15-30 minutes of extra fuel so that they can circle over the airport and wait for their turn to land. This is a variable figure and is generated using various algorithms and factors. Even after this if the aircraft is not able to make a landing at B, it has the required fuel reserve to land at an alternate destination C.

Still not satisfied? Your aircraft has 30 minutes of extra fuel as well! And then there always is Captain’s emergency authority which allows him to land at any suitable runway. And these fuel facts are not created by me and they are not arbitrary, they are mandated by Directorate General of Civil Aviation and can be checked here. Every airline and pilot is bound by law to take this much fuel no matter what flight they undertake.

Let’s assume the fuel was really low. Flight time to kolkata from Patna is 35 minutes. Instead of holding for 30 minutes at kolkata, the pilot would have gone back to Patna.

fuel-mamata-banerjee

Distance between Kolkata to Patna is 254 Nautical miles, i.e. 470.5 Kms. Weather was absolutely good at all the places on the day of this eventful flight. Scheduled alternate for Kolkata generally is Bhubaneshwar or Varanasi. Nobody wants to divert as it is a major financial loss, increases fatigue, workload and ofcourse, paperwork. To avoid this, when pilots are on verge of diversion, they inform ATC. This information is passed on generally by saying, “Just for information, XYZ flight has 8 minutes of fuel before we initiate diversion”.

Even if we assume that the pilots were dolts for the aforementioned flight, computers which calculate fuel figures are not. And even if they all were wrong, if I feel I am running out of fuel and have only 8 minutes of fuel onborad, all sorts of alarms are going off in my cockpit at this moment and come hell of high waters, I am landing that bloody thing regardless of ATC permission or congestion.

imd-30th-nov

“This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill our chief minister as she has raised voice against demonetisation and is touring the country to organise a mass movement against the anti-people decision,” Hakim said.

If I was scared, I would have checked what happened. But that is not the case here. earning political mileage is. Who cares about ruining time of parliament? Who cares about people as long as they can be deceived? And who cares about goddamn facts when they can be twisted at will? All this could have been easily verified by anybody. You would think that the media houses who have experts on everything from aliens to alibaba could have called in an expert and verified it, but why would they? When didi speaks, it’s TRP. To hell with the truth!

But it does not end here. How can our politicians stop at just wasting one day’s resource? Didi shouted, her band joined her, and very soon entire opposition rallied around her.

“When there is no fuel, it is the duty of the ATC to have allowed landing of Mamata Banerjee’s flight, her life is in danger”. – Mallikarjun Khadge

“This is a serious issue. This should be inquired thoroughly. The government should announce immediate action.” – Sharad Yadav 

The Government tried to counter it, but alas! How long could they have? They succumbed to the demands of opposition and DGCA has already been asked to set up a high level enquiry committee. The already short on manpower organisation has one more added responsibility now. And if that was not enough, last night she hallucinated about a coup from Indian Army. Some potent stuff there.

To this, @easterncomd promptly replied

But who can stop her now? Derek and company will stall the parliament proceedings because who doesn’t want to prove their allegiance? It seems like everybody wants a short cut to be a revolutionary while Bose cries in heaven.

It also is a possibility that the parties in question compared mechanisms of a commercial aircraft to a car where when fuel tank becomes empty, car stops. But to me, that is a distant possibility. Any sane person would verify their charges, especially if they are of this magnitude. But a more intelligent person would conjure something out of thin air and use it to his or her advantage. Mamata Banerjee, as we know, is a veteran politician and we all know that politics in India is a game of public perception not facts.

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