Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted about ‘engine trouble’ on his special flight to Patna today. Gandhi also shared a video from the cockpit along with the tweet. “Engine trouble on our flight to Patna today! We've been forced to return to Delhi. Today's meetings in Samastipur (Bihar), Balasore (Orissa) & Sangamner (Maharashta) will run late. Apologies for the inconvenience," he said on micro-blogging site. Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to address a rally at a college in Bihar's Samastipur at 10:30 am.
Meanwhile, aviation regulator DGCA has initiated a probe into the incident of the plane carrying Gandhi suffering engine trouble. The senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said the Hawker 850 XP aircraft VT-KNB returned back to Delhi after take-off due to a technical snag. "DGCA has initiated investigation as per the laid down procedure," he told PTI. The aircraft landed safely in Delhi at 1020 hours. There were ten person on board including two crew members, the official said.
Another flight scare was reported by Gandhi in May last year. He had spoken about the experience at a mega rally in Delhi. "I was on way to Karnataka when my flight dropped nearly 8,000 feet. I thought I was done for," the 48-year-old leader had said. Later, a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) investigation report had blamed an error in the Flight Control Computer and a delay by the crew in dealing with the situation for the problems encountered by a chartered flight ferrying Congress President Rahul Gandhi to Hubbali in Karnataka.
The investigation was ordered after the Congress said at the time that it suspected sabotage. The flight data recorder analysed by DGCA confirmed that the Ligare Aviation Falcon 2000 aircraft VT-AVH was cruising at 41,000 feet when the auto pilot tripped. The aircraft started tilting to the right and also lost height. The pilot took 24 seconds to control the situation, but the DGCA report said in its report that the “‘incident was survivable”.
“When the auto pilot tripped, the crew did not realize that the aircraft has gone into a bank with yaw damper failure,” the report said, referring to a part that prevents the aircraft from rolling and banking. According to the report, “the crew only realized (this had happened) when the bank angle warning came at 45 degree i.e after 13 seconds of autopilot disengagement”. The pilot thereafter flew the aircraft manually and got in touch with Hubbali ATC at around 70 nautical miles and landed at 11.33am.