The Unfortunate Fatal Crash Involving Group Captain Suranjan Das

All of us hold Group Capt Suranjan Das in great esteem. Apart from being a wonderful person, he was an exceptionally competent test pilot. But it would not be right to assume that Groupie Das could never make a mistake during test flying.  Absolutely no one is infallible at all times.

More than one person confirmed at HAL that in fact he did keep the canopy of the HF-24 Mk IR unlocked and held it up slightly to get some ventilation during taxiing. There is little doubt that the clamshell canopy used for the first time on the HF-24 was unlocked and opened up to vertical position as speed built up. This was the main cause of the crash. My personal part in attending to the accident’s aftermath follows.

Having taken charge of A&ATU on 1 Jan 1970 after returning from Egypt, I got the news of Groupie Das’ crash on the 10th itself from Air Hq. The phone call included an order from Air Mshl OP Mehra, DCAS (holding the post now designated as VCAS) to report to him as soon as possible. The Air Marshal asked me to proceed to HAL Bangalore and see what action must be taken to prevent a recurrence. On arrival at HAL, after some preliminary talk with a number of people, the sequence of events was confirmed as I have already reported in my first account of the crash. At that time I did not know or guess that either of the two engines had failed and no one then mentioned it to me.

The Chief Designer of HAL SC Das explained the system as arranged for this aircraft with the first clamshell canopy installation on a Marut. It was locked by T-Bolts which are about the surest way to ensure a good firm retention with no chance of failure as shown later in the Kiran. In Marut MkI and its derivatives, the sliding canopy had a reinforcing metal strip from front to rear in its middle. This was the hard metal which the pilot’s head would hit If ejection was attempted without first getting rid of the canopy.  Although I never actually saw the clamshell canopy of the Marut MIR, I am not sure if there was any similar metal in the middle. But its metal frame holding the perspex was thick and heavy.  Its front edge was likely to be very dangerous for a pilot to hit despite the breakers fitted on the ejection seat on both sides at the top. HAL then made it impossible to eject through the canopy. Neither the top blind nor the handle between the legs would operate unless a pin was pulled out to arm the seat and fire the cartridge. A lanyard fitted to the canopy was intended to pull out the pin as it was jettisoned. Only after this had been done, the seat was armed and ready.

Getting back to the fatal crash, the canopy was seen to open up to upright position. This would have been impossible if the T-bolts had been turned to the locking position. The hinges, theoretically referred to as sheer pins did not sheer. The seat was not armed and the drag from the open canopy was excessive. According to AVM Roy Choudhary, Director GTRE, under these conditions the fatal accident was inevitable whether or not an engine failed. But this became a huge bone of contention.

Since the MkIR was a prototype, it had been instrumented in considerable detail. There was much discussion about the recorded traces showing the failure of an engine, perhaps cutting off the reheat leaving the exhaust nozzle open. The loss of thrust would have been large but there was no direct way to know of it. The reheat system on the Orpheus had been developed by GTRE with the active assistance of Rolls Royce and some other companies of which Dowty was a prominent partner with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). Both GTRE and Rolls Royce protested very strongly to the allegation of engine failure. However, I recently checked with Air Mshl Mally Wollen who mentioned that this had been concluded and recorded at least as a possibility in the findings of the enquiry.

Let us get to the aftermath of the accident: I asked SC Das to change the canopy to side opening. He instantly replied, “But Kopeel. That will mean a design change!” My suggestion, that this was the least designers were expected to do, did not give him the incentive to take up the challenge. Meanwhile, for the MkIR, and earlier MkIA, the aft fuselage had just been fattened to accommodate the larger diameter of the engines with reheat. The after body drag was very high. In a personal duel between HAL’s chief engine designer and Director GTRE, both accused each other of doing poor scientific work. HAL alleged that the engines were losing too much thrust in the installation while GTRE said the loss of performance was due to excessive drag resulting from the poor design of the after body. The project was in dire trouble and had been carrying on only because of the unwavering support of Groupie Das, His death killed the project. I decided to recommend to Air Mshl Mehra officially abandoning it under these conditions.

Two prototypes of Maruts referred to as MkIA had reheated engines. I heard but never confirmed it that Sqn Ldr BD Jayal taking off a Marut MkIA almost failed to get airborne as the reheat cut out during the take off. I recall being told that he had at least two drop tanks installed. However, this story could just as easily be about a MkI in very hot conditions. Perhaps he can now confirm this tale, if true, and in any case describe it for us.

There is one reason I am willing to believe that the reheat of at least one engine could have failed. At A&ATU Kanpur we got a Marut MkIA for performance measurements. I flew it for some sorties and was impressed by its performance. Even with two drop tanks at low level, I had to throttle back in level flight at 540 knots to not go any faster. The limit was imposed apprehending failure of the fuel pump drive shafts. During test flights, I found the GTRE staff acting strangely. They fiddled with the engines depending on whether we were measuring the take off ground roll or climb performance. On investigation I found them adjusting a Temperature Monitoring Unit (TMU) which would cut off the reheat if the temperature went up too high. It was being adjusted for better performance for each intended test. Otherwise it would do its job, putting the aircraft and the pilot at risk. I stopped the trials and told the AVM that we had been given the aircraft for measuring performance, not for its development. We never saw it again.

The final part of this saga was almost amusing. The original HJT-16 canopies were also sliding ones. They were being replaced with clamshells. In view of this, I asked SC Das to design the sheer pins so that during ground roll they would sheer off at 90 knots, the speed at which it was permissible to use the ejection seat. The job was done in over one year. Some aircraft were delivered with clamshell canopies with the correctly designed sheer pin (hinges). But during towing an aircraft at FIS, the canopy flew off due to a minor gust of air. A little later exactly the same thing happened at A&ATU, with a parked aircraft of which the canopy had not been locked in anticipation of some work yet to be done. Gp Capt PG Joshi came to do the enquiry and told me that he had to find the unit at fault. I said,” Not on your life! Let us go to HAL and see what the cause is”. We confronted SC Das. I asked him how he had designed the sheer pins. SC Smiled and said that not only had he designed it well, he had actually tested the sheering by actual canopy jettisoning on to a net at various speeds to get it exactly right at 90 knots. I then asked him how he arrived at the load on the pins. He looked at me as if I was an utter fool. He said, “You know it very well, half rho v squared s gives me the load”. I asked him what happens to the shock load when the canopy opens and hits the stops. Wouldn’t the load be very much higher? He admitted that they had forgotten to allow for it. My unit was not blamed by Groupie Joshi.  At Air Hq I explained the visit to the VCAS Air Mshl Shiv Dev Singh and suggested that we ask HAL to redesign the sheer pins. He smiled and said that they had taken more than year for the first lot. Now if we were to ask them to redesign the sheer pins, IAF would not have the Kiran for at least another two years. He said that it would be better to accept the loss of a few canopies and not delay the aircraft any more. Apparently, strict instructions were issued that the retaining lever must be engaged, or else!

Received from Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava on email.

4 Responses to The Unfortunate Fatal Crash Involving Group Captain Suranjan Das

  1. Dara says:

    Groupie Chakko takes the discussion further:

    A Questionaire, simply for me to be educated. (by our Marutfans).

    I left HAL and went to the USA in late 1969; the HF24-1R was already in the works. I do not now remember many of the system and structural details and engine details that we must have discussed at that time. I am simply requesting those who may still remember some of the details of those days to help recall some relevant details. I am sort of ‘blank’ on many many points. My memory is not what it used to be.! So…….

    Q — 01. When did Dr Tank leave us. And when did Mr SC Das take over as the ‘continuation’ Designer of the HF; as I understand , that happened. ?

    Q – 02. When was the Canopy of the HF, now 1R, changed to a “Clamshell type”. ?

    Q – 03.
    In this clamshell canopy, what was the mechanism that allowed the pilot to hold the canopy ‘slightly open a few degrees’ while taxying.? Were there any ‘hand-holds’ on the front end / sides of the canopy to help the pilot to do so.? Or was there a single such ‘hand hold’ at the front end of the canopy.? Did the pilot have to exert some upward force on that ‘hand-hold’, while taxying to hold the canopy partially open to get some fresh air into the cockpit.? You can see the direction in which I am headed, right ??!!

    Q – 04. What was the mechanism that had to be operated by the pilot to ‘lock ‘ the canopy. Was it one or two lock-levers that had to be pushed ‘forward’ or was it to be pulled ‘backward’ to lock the canopy.? Would the pilot have had to lean a lot forward in the cockpit to do so?

    Q — 05. Am I to understand it correctly; that the ‘T-Bolts’ on either side of the canopy locked the canopy down against the ‘thruster springs’ by compressing them? The T bolts would obviously turn 90 deg. to lock the canopy down.? Right ?

    Q — 06. So if the ‘canopy was not locked by the pilot’, with the ‘canopy lock lever’, would the canopy front end ‘stay open a few degrees into the air stream’, held open upwards by the thruster springs.? Since everyone says it was a heavy clamshell canopy, could it have been so heavy that the thruster springs could not/did not hold the canopy open into the air stream in the ‘canopy unlocked position’? .

    Q — 07. Can we all agree that aerodynamically there is a lifting force on the top surface of the canopy, during any forward speed, may be even in gusts of wind, and certainly during taxying, say, to the take off point.?

    Q — 08. If there is that aerodynamic force trying to open the canopy, can we assume that the pilot could have been holding the canopy open, without letting it open viciously into the air stream even during taxying? As a pilot, now, would you now be holding the canopy firmly down with your left or your right hand? Or also switching hands?. After all you are taxying, and one is occupied with the throttle lever and many other pre-flight checks on this prototype test. Right ?

    Q — 09. Groupie Das is now lined up for take off. His brakes are on. He has hopefully completed his ‘preflight checks’. Is the canopy ‘slightly open’ at this point.? Has he not locked the canopy at this point? Are there, if any, cockpit flashing lights or verbal sounds alerting him visibly and audibly to an unlocked canopy.? He now opens full throttles for the take off and releases brakes. Right ? More or Less ??

    Q — 10. There are many people watching this event from the ground, from the ATC too. Some may have binoculars also. And cameras must be rolling. He is on the 6,000 foot runway. He knows the HAL runway like the palm of his hand. Right.?

    Q — 11. The excitement is high all round, and after the ATC clearance, Dasu begins his take off roll. Now we need “some inputs” from many of our test pilots who have flown the HF24 Mk.1. a number of times. Give us a very rough time-line and rough distance covered to nose wheel up, then main wheels up and away in this test configuration. Can we also have some info on time to accelerate to different speeds and corresponding distances covered on the ground. We need only very rough answers at this point, please. Thanks.

    Q — 12. At what point roughly in the take off roll did any one see the canopy partially open as reported by witnesses. How soon after that did anyone see the canopy fully open and in the vertical position. Did the canopy open ‘slooooowly’ or did it open very fast with, oohs and aahs all round, sensing grave danger to the pilot.?? Can anyone give a rough time and distance report on this event.? Let us not forget the dynamics of this situation, where such sudden opening of such a huge ‘bucket shaped canopy’ must have exerted a tremendous pitch-up moment on the aircraft, right or wrong.? OK this was countered to an extent by the ‘inertia’ of that big aircraft, may be.! This time line is absolutely crucial, even in terms of elapsed seconds, because this can establish whether Groupie Das even had an opportunity to abort this take off. The other details of canopy release and seat ejection, will all only follow from satisfactory and rational answers to these questions.

    Q — 13. here is an interesting reference to the possibility of an engine failure on take off. Kapil has elaborated on this quite a bit.. AM Wollen has suggested that as a possibility as per the C of I findings. AM Jayal has not discounted such a problem. I have also heard that there were some problems with the reheat installation, especially in the temperature control regime, during its development. Not having any direct involvement in it I shall have to desist from any comment. However it is an important fact that should have been investigated in much greater detail, without getting involved in the ruckus between the HAL and the GTRE personalities.

    But this could be a material point in our debate because it is now not beyond the realms of probability. Why was this not investigated in greater detail, especially since there were some reasons to suspect an engine failure on take off. ? (Of course I discount any suggestion that that engine failure may have taken place because of turbulence at the air intake from an open canopy.) We are told that there was plenty on instrumentation on this engine to have enabled some positive conclusions to have been reached. Why was this not investigated much further??

    Q — 14. So if we factor this into the debate, we have a totally different scenario to consider. Now consider Dasu in the cockpit having gone through his pre-flight checks. He has locked his canopy. (I cannot imagine any one not doing that, least of all, Dasu !). He now moves both throttles to max rpm and releases brakes.. The aircraft responds as well it should. Soon after the commencement of his roll at some point , an engine fails. If the exhaust nozzle is stuck in the wide open position, there is indeed a massive loss of thrust. At this time Groupie Das leans forward and pulls the canopy jettison lever. The canopy T-bolts unlock the canopy, the thrusters push the canopy up, opening it ‘a few degrees’ into the air stream, and it is flung back immediately with great force into the visible vertical position as seen by all. Right, does any one disagree ??

    Q — 15. Under the above conditions the canopy shear pins on the rear hinge should have failed as designed, and let the canopy separate from the aircraft.. This did not happen. Without suggesting that the designer did not know his job, it is possible that the actual shear pins fitted on the aircraft that fateful day, were not the ones that were designed to do just that. I consider this another lapse in the investigation which should have checked this out. I have not heard any one suggest that this was done. Why ? The shear pins should have failed at a much lower load than that it was subjected to, by that clamshell canopy, vertical in the air stream at any speed during the take off roll. ( We have seen many other foreign aircraft taxying with both front and rear canopies fully open). Haven’t we ??
    The time line vs speed at which the clamshell canopy opened vertically into the air stream as debated earlier has now come back as the crucial point in our continuing debate. Has it not. ??

    Q — 16. So in my very considered opinion, I will make very bold to offer my version of the events of that fateful day. An engine failed on Groupie Das’ take off run. Unlocking his canopy to jettison it, the canopy did not separate from the aircraft. That was another failure in the system.. There was now no possibility of his using his zero-zero ejection seat because the lanyard that should have pulled out the pin to arm the seat, was not pulled out, because the canopy was not jettisoned from the aircraft. A double failure now cannot be ruled out in our pathetic scheme of things. Can it really ? So it is standard operating procedure to blame the pilot, even a MAN like Groupie Das. God Bless his soul.
    Right ? I am glad we can all now agree !!!

    So we should have had answers to these simple foregoing questions before any ’Court of Inquiry’ could have pronounced that very unfortunate verdict of “pilot error” in Groupie Das’ case. I hope we can persuade many more of our test pilots and Engineers and Designers who now hold the very future of our Aircraft Industry in their hands, to share their views in the debate that is now ongoing on the Marut. Please do, dear Friends.

    With my kind regards,

    Jacob Chakko.

    PS. ( I am a lucky guy…..)

    • Dara says:

      Dear Group Captain,

      Your reluctance to agree that Group Captain Das could have made a mistake is laudable. It shows your deep loyalty and admiration towards him. However, one must wonder that if he did not make any mistake, why did he get killed. No technical or design defect was pinpointed. Even the alleged failure of an engine or its reheat did not get confirmed.

      Incidentally, more than one clamshell canopy has been lost in IAF on the Hunter 66 trainer aircraft during the take off run due not being locked. This aircraft even had a retainer lever to keep the canopy partly open during towing and taxiing. I never heard of such a lever in the HF-24 Mk I R. But then there is no way, I would have heard everything about it.

      It is likely that there was no canopy unlocked warning light. No one ever mentioned it to me and I have no idea what the canopy unlocked warning system was. If a warning light had been on, no pilot would start a take off, though even this mistake has been made in the past. During 1984-86 when I was in HAL, several incident reports were raised by IAF about the canopy warning light in Kiran aircraft being on prior to take off whereas the T-Bolts had turned fully. The micro switch did not get activated. After being assured of the firm locking by T-Bolts, I suggested the removal of the micro switch rather than trying to ensure that the switch must put off the light. I do not know what if anything was done as I retired soon afterwards.

      The only question I can answer for you with some confidence (which may also be misplaced) is that the Mk IR prototype was the first and perhaps only HF-24 to ever get a clamshell canopy. Unfortunately, almost all major players of that time are no more. It may also be very difficult to locate others who might watched it and could have at least partial knowledge of the accident. Since the aircraft was HAL’s, IAF is very unlikely to have a copy of the enquiry proceedings. If it does have one, almost certainly it will not get located.

      Your assumption that the possible failure of an engine was not sufficiently investigated is not quite right. As I heard of it, this apparently became a major bone of contention and got really well examined. It seems GTRE and Rolls Royce never agreed that there was any failure of the engine. We cannot decide today who was right. I strongly recommend that you discuss this issue with AVM S Roy Chaudhury then Director GTRE. Fortunately he is also in Bangalore and may be available at phone number (080) 25531593. You could also check with him if he has a copy of the enquiry report or can get it from GTRE to read and return. Please let us all know the result of your talk with him.

      Like you, I was away in Egypt till just before Groupie Das’ accident. I joined A&ATU just nine day before the accident. I have no personal knowledge of events to answer your many questions. I have already written what I remember being told to me forty years ago.

      With best wishes and regards,

  2. Jacob Chakko says:

    Dear Friends,
    Here am I once again, simply trying to find an answer. I had an interesting conversation with Air Marshal Mally Wollen in Goa earlier this evening. He described a situation where he took off in a MiG-21 trainer, not realising that the rear canopy was not locked as it should have been. Getting airborne he chacked his pressurisation and did realise something was not right. He felt the aircraft sort of swaying a bit from side to side and in the sunlight looking slightly behind him he saw the rear canopy open and swishing from side to side, but not too violently. He managed to land safely, and I believe as he came to a stop, that rear canopy fell off the aircraft. As he explained it, he flew on to another station the next morning with that same canopy and had that station change the brackets etc and flew back to his base. On discussing this with him further, we found we were discussing a ‘side opening canopy’ and not a clamshell type canopy. So that side opeing canopy did not fall off the aircraft in flight. So we see that the aerodynamics of this side opening canopy is very different from a clamshell canopy opening upwards, vertically into the airstream, like a ‘huge heavy concave bucket’, as this is what happened in Dasu’s case.
    He gave me some more information that Dasu used the HAL’s short runway, that was about 6,000 feet long. He said that Dasu was not ‘airborne’, at any stage. He also confirmed that Dasu’s clamshell canopy was last seen in the vertical position during his take off attempt.
    I am glad I talked with AM Wollen, and he gave me much the same info as Kapil did. I am copying this email to him also, so he can join in our discussions. He also mentioned the possibility of an engine failure at some stage, but none would confirm it. I hope AM Wollen will acknowledge this mail and join us to give us his input as a very experienced pilot, as an ex Chairman of HAL and as an old friend and colleague of Groupie Das. (For whatever it is worth, AM Wollen and I were in the same 50 th. PIC in Coimbatore in 1947.!)
    While I will continue to defer to all these friends of mine, I am still looking for that real-time time line from brakes off, accelerating to nearly 120 to 130 knots, as I am told, with the canopy open vertically up at some point in between. That is why I am forced to ask again as to where in that 6,000 feet run did the canopy open slightly and then fling backwards with what must have been a tremendous force. And then we see that the canopy did not separate from the aircraft, because of a faulty canopy release ‘shear’ mechanism, sealing Dasu’s fate. Can any of our friends go into some detail of the time-line from brakes-off to that sad crash.
    I apologise for any attempt to question tha many who must have analysed this event with a fine tooth comb, so to speak. I really am only looking for answers.
    Jacob Chakko


  3. Dara says:

    “Dear Friends,

    It may be pointless perhaps going over all this spilt milk. We need to move on. But before I do, I need to renew my pledge to our fallen comrades in their search for excellence. We need to work TOGETHER and leave our fissiparous tendencies aside.

    In this connection I would just make one more statement explaining the bad situation that Dasu found himself in ‘with his canopy open and in the upright position’ on his take off roll. This distresses me greatly. I need an answer. I must have one, and I owe it to them all.

    Permit me therefore, as an older Engineer, a Designer, a Scientist and also an IAF Pilot, of those times gone by, to add some information to that already given by Kapil.. In brief, that vertical canopy not being separated from the aircraft on his take off must have done Dasu in. I am always interested in probing the reasons for many things that happen, as are all of us. So I am going through a small exercise in aerodynamics theory to understand and explain the implications of the vertically open canopy. I seek your indulgence.

    A vertical cross section of the HF fuselage (or any other aircraft) along its longitudinal axis resembles to an extent, an ‘aerofoil’, without going into the ‘area rule’ dimensioning etc. Imaging this aerofoil, it can be seen that the canopy happens to be the area of maximum camber. This would mean to an extent that to be the area of max low pressure and therefore, of aerodynamic lift. So there is always a lifting force on the canopy in flight at any subsonic speed. That lifting force is very substantial. All aircraft canopy systems, whether sliding or clamshell types, or sidewise opening, are designed to ensure that the canopy is locked suitably under all conditions of flight.

    References made to some of our aircraft where canopies opened in small gusts of wind on the ground would only exemplify this fact when the canopies are not properly locked, whenever they should be. That being said, it is not anything that has not been taken care of in the design. Our designers are never that ignorant of the ways this has to be and is done.

    Now we are being made aware of the aerodynamic drag on bodies. It is an over simplification only to say that such drag is simply ‘ half rho v squared s’. That is something we taught others in those ‘ab initio’ lectures on the basic ‘theory of flight’. We surely must look beyond that now. The ‘drag’ above must also be multiplied by a factor, the Coefficient of Drag, (Cd). Those who are looking at this must now find the appropriate ‘drag coefficient’ at the correct Reynolds Number. According to various NASA and other documents available the Cd of a “flat plate” is given as 2.0, that of a “cylinder” is 1.2, while that of a “streamlined body” is 0.12. Try not to doze off during this short lecture. I promise you I will not go into details of ‘circulation theory’..

    Now imagine an open canopy on an aircraft. I will not hazard a guess as to what the Cd of a ‘partially open by a few degrees’ canopy could be. However as the canopy in Dasu’s case was in the ‘vertical’ position, during the early part of the take off run, even long before ‘wheels up’, the estimate of the Cd must be modified accordingly. The canopy is now not a simple flat plate or a cylinder subject to regular circulation theory. It is a now a ‘frighteningly huge concave bucket’ that must have opened fairly quickly and very early in the take off run, if Dasu had forgotten to lock the canopy.. And if it had opened just ‘a few degrees’, it must then have opened fully very quickly and then flung itself backward into the vertical position in less that a couple of seconds, with tremendous force. The airflow, certainly was not trying to close it. The Cd of the open canopy now could have been anything way beyond the 2.0 or even 3.0 or 4.0 or 5.0, who knows. This concave huge ‘bucket’ clamshell canopy in the airstream is not a subject that is usually taught in standard aerodynamics. How ever I am sure there are NASA reports that may have been written to study such events in connection with canopy release with ejection seats also being ejected. This opening therefore must have been a sudden event. This event must now be looked at in a ‘real-time’ time-line from brake-release to the canopy opening ‘even partially’ to its fling backward into the vertical position. This fling back force of the heavy canopy obviously must also be added to the momentum of its impact on the ‘shear pins’ device that secured the canopy during taxying and maintenance , say even under gusty wind conditions on the ground. The force that now was holding the canopy open in the vertical position even at 80, 90 or 100 knots was counteracted by the ‘shear pins’ that were designed to fail at much lower loads, but certainly did not. I believe that is really the key in this situation.

    In my opinion therefore, even if Dasu had allegedly ‘forgotten’ to ‘lock’ the canopy before the take off roll, the opening of the canopy was a ‘sudden event’ that perhaps happened well after reaching his critical lift off speed. If this had actually occurred early in his take off run Dasu would have had ample time to abort his take off. [Now I bring up another customary briefing that we used to hear that occurs on prototype testing.. Roshan Suri was briefed to read out his ‘check list’ over the intercom before he commenced his take off run on the first HF 24 . I know this was done. I am sure this was the regular practice followed at the HAL when special prototypes were flown. I will surmise this to be the case and that Dasu, (as the CTP), also followed this custom. I am not privy to any of this info if it was indeed part of the C of I evidence, so I will defer to those who do really know. Our test pilots surely may like to expand on this procedure. I was there with Dasu in the aircraft, when he flew the Orpheus Jet Pack prototype on its first take off at HAL, and I know Dasu transmitted his take off check list to the tower in real-time, because I was the one who wrote it and I was also there with him.]

    This summary of events and my personal opinions must really be taken in the spirit in which it is offered. However it is my conviction that this canopy opening took place well into his take off run which could not have given Dasu enough time to react, even if it was to abort his take off. The opening and the fling back of this huge canopy into the air stream to that frightening vertical position must have imposed much greater loads on the “shear pins” devices that were supposedly designed to fail at very much lighter loads. While I am sure that the strength of materials design was correct, my firm opinion is that the actual pieces attaching it to the aircraft that day must have been the wrong ones. I am in an unfortunate position of having to state all this in blind and hind sight , ‘monday morning quarter backing, so to speak’, without access to information that must have been collated after ‘that’ thorough C of I investigation that ‘must have been’ conducted. But I firmly believe that my opinion is a very rational one. Personally, therefore, I will not accept a verdict of “pilot error” in this case, not because I consider Dasu infallible, but because this rendition is a well thought out one, a rational and a scientific explanation of the events of that fateful day.

    Thanking you all for your patience,

    With my kind Regards,

    Jacob Chakko.”

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