Flight 213: the carrier that never landed!

Pakpotpourri was offered this article to run by the writer.

By: Farhan Imaan

On 20 April 2012, approx 18:40 pm, Flight 213 lost the contact with control tower, a Boeing 737-200 (AP-BKC), Bhoja Air Flight 213 carrying 127 people on a flight from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport destined for Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport crashed near Chaklala killing all on board.

There were  bad weather conditions, eye-witness reports say that the aircraft was already on fire on its landing approach before it crashed.Initial reports suggest that as the pilots of Bhoja Air Flight B4-213 attempted to land amidst rain and strong winds.The ill fated aircraft might have flown into an unexpected wind shear that possibly smashed it on the ground below.

The aircraft had been retired by Shaheen Air, due to not having sufficient Engine thrust power, which led this plane to be grounded just a month back. The same plane was acquired and placed in service by Bhoja Air in March 2012.The CAA officials knew that the plane is grounded due to technical faults, The Engine of this Boeing 737-200 had Thrust Combustion Issue.

On that fateful day, ATC had  received two warning from Meteorologic Department that clouds and winds from North are not suitable for allowing flights to land or take off. The Meteorologic Department, first gave the warning at 1500 PST and then again it at 1800 PST. Flight 213 was approaching to make the landing . Permission to land was given, but before that, as per the eye witnesses account, the  plane burst into flames, a ball of fire in the sky.

Timeline:

1. Meteorologic Department Informed Air Traffic Control at 1500 PST, That weather is not sufficient to land or to take off.

2. Meteorologist Department revised again given the same weather warning at 1800 PST that weather is not suitable for next an hour but ATC allowed some flights to take off and land.

3. ATC  gave the clearance, authorized Flight 213 to land, that’s when pilot turned Landing Gear DOWN. “ Means Wheels Open “. Aircraft was probably hardly 250 kmph or 170 knots and constantly slowing down to make a  proper landing approach.

4-Flight 213 ignored the warning because in various conditions pilots are experienced to land. Beside it private airlines save the fuel charges by not diverting as ideally it should have been done.

5-In Islamabad , ATC is still using old system ” ILS300 ” Instrument Landing System 300 means Aircraft should be in range of 300 meters to be fully engaged, which this aircraft wasn’t, after being engaged with ILS300 Radars and Aircraft’s instruments do the final adjustments to make easier and safer approach.

6- At 1840 PST Flight 213 went down, eye witness said flame of the fireball came down in a “mid air explosion ” . The air pocket, which made the plane stall, jammed and with in no time it lost the attitude, Pilot must have tried to increase thrust power , an immediate action in this situation.Plane will get out of control only when it stalls due to very slow flaps 20, rest the wind from the north played it’s part to bring it down, in seconds perhaps it would have been able to recover MAYBE if the thrust were fine .

7-This aircraft was grounded for almost 10 years by Shaheen Air due to the technical fault of  ” Engine Thrust ” It is important to have balanced thrust engine power when landing specially in bad weather condition.

A number of things went wrong here. The clearance given to the flight to land, the faulty engine thrust coupled with bad weather condition.

How many back-up planes does Bhoja Air has? Why was it’s license cancelled and then renewed? Were the flights insured?What compensation has been paid to the victims families?

Will Bhoja Airlines care to share?

The writer is a social activist and a blogger .This article(a longer version under a different title)ran first on his own blog.

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Comments

  • Imamat  On April 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Who is this Arshad Jaleeel ?
    What is his background ?
    I am sure a poltical link will be established
    sooner or later.

    This tragic crash and its investigations will be ultimately burried
    under the tons of confusion which has been created around.Different
    actors are dragging the case in various directions so as to deflect
    public,s anger/attention.
    No love lost for Bhoja air or its owner,whosoever they are,but I dont
    think there is any justification is arresting or harassing them at this stage
    till the investigations are completed.
    What if the reason turns out to be a human error or bad whether ?
    Why didn,t Rehman Malik show the same efficiency at the time of
    Airblue crash and arrest the owners then ?
    Similarly Defence Minister,s purge on Airlines,fleet should be a regular
    duty of CAA instead of knee-jerk style.
    The purpose of all such operations are to divert Public and media,s
    attention and try to dig some more avenues of making money.

    Imamat

    • Varris  On April 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Dear Imamat – my brother

      Arshad started his career in PIA in engineering dept. He left to
      establish the engineering wing of the emerging Emirates and made pots
      of money. Came back and joined various private airlines . He is a
      wheeler dealer and a hustler. He did well for himself when he
      persuaded Bhoja to allow him use of his licence and have it revived
      thru connections to influential people. Arshad provided the capital
      and technical know how.

      In this crash , nothing has emerged so far to indicate that the owners
      are guilty of any crime. Old age of the aircraft is a bogey. Weather
      can only be a contributing factor. If any CAA regulation for safety
      was violated it would come out evntually and then they can be held
      responsible . Maenwhile all the poilitical noise is to placate the
      public.

      I find it amusing that Police is conducting an inquiry, CAA is
      conducting an inquiry , FIA is conducting an inquiry , MoD is
      conducting an inquiry in all ops of private airlines, PM has ordered a
      judicial inquiry , Boeing Co is sending its team to inquire.

      Our country has become a joke with clowns galore. Each one trying to
      get the lime light.

      In the end no final result will come out with so many inquiry reports
      floating. Can you imagine , half the documents will be captured by one
      institution and rest distributed amongst others. No one will have the
      full picture. There is only one agnecy which is qualified and legally
      authorised to conduct air crash inquiries. CAA and its Air
      investigation Board. There is no end to mishandling by this govrnment
      of ours. It’s shameful.

      A word about CAA. It is now headed by Capt. Yusufzai, who is just a
      flying captain in PIA ( Yes still) His beacon was lit up because he is
      a zardari crony. In BB government he was appointed a Director of
      General Services. In today’s government he was promoted to MD PIA when
      another AZZ crony Capt. Aijaz Harron got on the wrong side of PALPA
      and was removed as MD. All these appointments including one of the
      most incompetent Director Admin Hanif Pathan ( another political
      appointee) were made to accomodate Jiyalas and derive max benefits
      from the national carrier. Yusufzai mismanged the airline as expcted
      and was moved to another lucrative job as DG CAA. Again CAA will see
      induction of Jiyalas. Presumably PIA has become saturated with
      jilayas. Whenevr he governmnt changes Yusufzai will end up as an
      ordinary line Captain in PIA. Cam someone please tell me any reason
      why he should not favour PIA if it violates any standards. Can the
      head of a regulating agency regulate his own parent organisation.

      Then they say that PIA is in the dock for RS 130 billion .

      Mind my words . The looters and the carpet baggers will disappear
      leaving behind the next ten geneartions of Pakistanis with so much
      debt and totally ruined institutions that the word ‘failed state’ will
      denote a new meaning.

      Carry on asking for democrazy. Vote PPP and PML(N). This nation is in
      a nose dive and God knows who can halt the descent.

      Varris

      • Faree  On April 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        you shared in detail as well your comments, well I agree with you, but the point is not who got backing, walking ATM or 130 billion, by voting these corrupt politicians we all know we haven’t moved ahead but instead backward would be the right word. Unfortunately Democracy here never worked Pakistan always been under the Army boots and when it came in the hands of politicians they were so qualified in corruption only, hence even now I don’t have any hope from any politicians nor party but a very few like me against this wrong system ! Surely Allah knows everything …..

        Regards,

        Farhan Imaan

    • Faree  On April 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      We are not interested who is making money or who is who, my point is clear that Civil Aviation Authority shouldn’t be careless as Police or any other department, Crash Investigation and Inspection of all the Planes, should be done by some experts because I really know personally how professional people are in CAA, the only thing is I don’t have a support of media else, I know how those victim families must be feeling right now, even if we are few like you and me together we don’t support this criminology which makes our Air Travel Unsafe, it is not like car and we are the drivers, even in a bus we can kick and slap the driver, but here what happened is worst hopefully I will publish my entire research on Air Blue too, which was not a bit like as government came up with, A TOTAL LIE !

  • Varris  On April 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    BTW I saw the photo of the Pilot in command Capt Afridi in Daily
    ‘Ummat’. He had a long flowing beard , untrimmed.

    Reminded me of another similarly bearded pilot Khalid Iqbal who was in
    command of the Air Blue aircraft when it crashed in ISB area last
    year.

    I also go back when another bearded pilot Capt Siraj managed to land a
    Boeing 747 without gears at ISB airport.

    Is it coincidence or is ISB air field unkind to bearded pilots.?

    • Faree  On April 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      as far my view is concerned There is no such thing as Coincidence.

  • ID  On April 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    BTW I saw the photo of the Pilot in command Capt Afridi in Daily
    ‘Ummat’. He had a long flowing beard , untrimmed.

    Reminded me of another similarly bearded pilot Khalid Iqbal who was in
    command of the Air Blue aircraft when it crashed in ISB area last
    year.

    I also go back when another bearded pilot Capt Siraj managed to land a
    Boeing 747 without gears at ISB airport.

    Is it coincidence or is ISB air field unkind to bearded pilots.?

  • Rizwan  On April 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    to what avail now??
    and to what use later, we go from one disaster to the other swearing revolution on each one.

  • Faree  On April 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    The Last Part of this Article which is not published here

    The question is now is it only Bhoja’s mistake or CAA too? Why ATC ignored the Weather Warning and We haven’t heard that any initiative taken against ATC Officials. If we really want to fix these issues, these questions needs to be answered without it no Aircraft no matter Bhoja or PIA is not safe in Pakistani Territory. There should be Independent Teams to Investigate the crash of Flight 213. There should be International Aviation Team of Inspection called to certify these aircrafts including PIA. People of this nation don’t trust Government and the way DG CAA gave the press statement showed me how responsible person he is. We must demand what is fair, we are not asking to bring US Marines but Independent International Team of Aviation Experts to Inspect so we know are we going to reach the other side safely or…….

    For Complete Version Visit http://farees.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/bhoja-air-flight-213-crash-caa/

  • M.Akbar Khan  On April 28, 2012 at 1:09 am

    One question for Yasmeen. Why would shaheen or any other airline ground the aircraft for 10 years due to a problem with thrust on an engine. Why not just change the engine and use the aircraft.
    So this story does not fly. Dig deep for the right problem. It is I think a heavy check due which was not done. Maybe even serious cracks in fuselage. The point now is to help the victims. Check and chase the insurance now to get compensation to the people. That’s the direction to

  • GRK  On April 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

    till today air blue affected people have not been fully compensated.bhoja airline forget it.i think i order to save money insurance might from a third class company.i know farooq bhoja personally .he is a cheat of the highest order.may ALMIGHTY ALLAH curse him in this world also.he already lost a young son who was kidnapped in 1998 99 and he did not settle with the kidnappers.i want this man to suffer as what he did to me in october 1999.grk

  • MUHAMMAD CHAUDHRY  On April 28, 2012 at 2:30 am

    The blogger,a conscientious-minded peron has raised quite valid questions to be asked from Bhoja Air.However more pertinent questions need to be asked from government agencies as under.
    Who revived the licence for operation for Bhoja Air and on what grounds?
    Who monitored the implementation of required committments of Bhoja Air?
    Who allowed the recommissioning of this plane and on what terms?
    Which official of ATC okayed landing of this plane despite warnings by Meteriological department?
    Who monitors insurance cover of planes of private Airlines and on what parameters?
    MSC

  • Syed Wajahat  On April 28, 2012 at 2:31 am

    If Bhoja Airlines had any conscience, that plane would never have been put in service.
    It is conceivable that there will be no answers beyond such as a pilot error or bad weather.
    After all those who licenced this plane to be airborne will try very hard to cover their behinds.

    The only possibility to repremand Bhoja Airlines is to take a public action against its owners.
    Here is the perfect opportunity to get public involved in Government an private collaborative blunders.

    For example, I would like to see a civic group get started to bring down Bhoja Airlines.
    After all it is the public that pays for its business. So how difficult is it to stop people
    from travelling on this death trap airline.

    Here is what the anti Bhoja Airlines group can do:

    1. Create a psuedo contract between anti Bhoja Airlines group
    and the passenger, The content of this contract should look as follows:

    Being of sound health and mind, knowing the poor flying condition
    of the aircraft, I am taking the responsibility to travel on Bhoja
    airlines. In the event the plane crashes, I forbid the anti Bhoja Airline
    group from saying “I told you so”.

    2. Create a million copies of this contract.

    3. Then take up a collection from general public to accumulate
    a few thousand Rupees so as to bribe the Airport authorities to
    ignore the presence of Anti Bhoja Airlines group representatives
    and hand this contract to all of the passengers waiting to board the
    plane.

    I will gaurantee you, within a few days there will be no passengers lining
    to board the plane. Those who do willl be desparados without whom
    the country will do much better.

    Oh yes people who are handing this contract out should be disguised so their
    true identity is hidden.

    Syed W. Hussain

  • GRK  On April 28, 2012 at 2:32 am

    excellent suggestions.ms yasmeen should be complimented for creating such a vibrant and peace loving members becoming a vocal voice through this blog.in a sperate communication,i am forwarding a comment of a dear freind akbar khan who has nearly 50 years of aviation industry exposure and that too,so rich a versatile that few can rival him.he has the honor of setting up several cargo and passenger airlines from scratch.regards grk

  • farhan  On April 28, 2012 at 2:43 am

    May Allah rest their souls in peace.May Allah help and bless Pakistan.

  • Ali Kazim  On April 28, 2012 at 3:14 am

    The writer is obviously not conversant with aviation and aircraft behaviour in different weather conditions. However, his concern and chagrin is commendable. As an aviator associated with Fighter and Airline flying for 44years + I have my views as regards this grave tragedy, unnecessary to say the least. I do not wish to fatally crash this flight to a conclusion but the only comment I would like to make regarding the statement that it may take months or years to conclude an inquiry is baseless. There is hardly any mystery involved in this tragic accidend in which 127 precious lives were lost. The inquiry can be concluded in no more than a month. Shorter if the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) was not to be analysed in USA, perhaps by NTSB or t CVR analysis not done by an independent agency, maybe in USA again. The CVR is Cockpit Voice Recorder which has a 30mts. loop i.e. the last 30 mts. transmissions are recorded. The FDR will ascertain the power plants(the two engines) and many other parameters which may or may not be relevant. The Airframe components would need a check (to fulfill the requirement that a remote possibility, in this particular case, of any malfunction. I do not wish to express any further opinion as, hopefully, competent and qualified investigators have been assigned to conduct the investigation.

    Dear Yasmeen, could you please copy my comments to AVM Ata ur Rehman. Fond Regards.

  • S M Anwar  On April 28, 2012 at 7:14 am

    It seems some of us are overtaken by primordial blood thirsty or revengeful feelings. Some want to hang Bhoja, some want to hang CAA airworthiness people, .some want to hang the ATCO on duty at the fateful hour, while Mr. Rehman Malik wants to send all the shareholders of Bhoja to gallows for hedging a conspiracy to murder all the the persons on board the ill fated aircraft.
    Come on, why we are jumping the gun.Let us wait for the investigation to reveal the real cause of of the crash.Like it or not, this should be the sensible
    response.
    You never know, all the pundits may have to eat their words as it may turn out to be simply an Act of God.

    S M Anwar

  • Ata  On April 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Yasmeen what is this write, a novice as far as airline and flying business is concerned, talking about? She does not have the full facts and her analysis then cannot be accurate. It is too early to say what really happened. Let the investigators, (whom I personally know) are competent people with sufficient experience on aircraft accident investigation. Let them determine…they will definitely do a good job. Meanwhile we should stop speculating and writers who know little about Aviation should not get space in such a prestigious blog.
    Warm regards
    Ata

  • M.Siddiqi  On April 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Everything stems from leadership, political stabiliy, meritocracy and accountability Maam.

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