A DGCA official told Jagriti Chandra, journalist from The Hindu that IndiGo was asking its pilots to carry out Flap 3 landing every time they land so that they can save some fuel.
IndiGo Flap 3 landing
Recently, a photo went viral on social media where an IndiGo pilot shared his/her certificate from IndiGo airlines, in which the airline appreciated him/her to carry out most number of Flap 3 landings from the respective operational base. Various Twitter accounts are sharing this photo and are concerned about safety of the passengers.
Before moving to DGCA official statement, lets have a quick look at what is Flap 3 landing?
What is meaning of this landing?
Normally, all aircraft have flaps which are used to change the wing shape and modify its aerodynamic properties during takeoff and landing. During landing, these flaps are extended. This helps to increase the lift as well as drag on the wing. This helps to not only maintain the lift but also reduce the speed of the aircraft. The aircraft uses 3 things to reduce speed : spoilers, tyre brakes and flaps.
Airbus aircraft have 5 flap positions. Flap 0,1,2,3 & full. Normally, Airbus aircraft lands with all 4 flaps extended. In some scenarios like wind direction, they can also land by extending 3 flaps.
A Flap 3 landing has less drag on the aircraft with respect to a Flap 4 landing. Hence, it facilitates the airline to save more fuel. And hence, sometimes airlines force pilots to perform Flap 3 landing everytime, so that they can save a few kilos, which can be used on next sector.
DGCA official allegations on IndiGo
DGCA recently conducted special audits, where they found the airline is asking pilots to carry out Flap 3 landing every time they land. The airline said that with each landing, the pilots can save 6 Kgs of fuel. This is against the Guidelines of Airbus Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM).
Flap 3 landings are not harmful but they can be tricky to implement at airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad whose runways are located at an elevation.
DGCA fines the airline
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has fined the airline for Rs 30 lakhs after the special audit. IndiGo was issued a show cause notice, to which it replied. The airline found the reply unsatisfactory and fined the airline for a hefty amount. The airline has also been instructed to amend the Standard Operational Procedures to be in line with IndiGo and Airbus FCOM Guidelines.
IndiGo, in a span of last 6 months had 4 tailstrikes on its Airbus A321neo fleet.
Source Credits : The Hindu (Jagriti Chandra)