Air India crew forgets to retract gear and is forced to make an emergency landing due to “low on fuel”

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Now this is a very strange story that reached our aviation forums this evening: last Saturday an Air India crew from Kolkota to Mumbai forgot to retract its landing gear after take-off. The Airbus A320 (VT-EXE) continued its flight with a more fuel consuming lay-out and was forced to make an emergency landing at Nagpur airport due to “low on fuel”. Both pilots have been “de-rostered” by Air India until further investigations, newspaper The Times of India (TOI) wrote.

AI 676 took off from Kolkota at around 9:30 am and was climbing to 4000 feet, the pilots would have gone through a “take off/climb checklist” but the pilots forgot to do it. With the wheels down, the drag force increases and the aircraft makes more noise than usual, a source told the TOI.

Among the consequences would be a poor rate of climb and higher fuel consumption, apparently the aircraft wasn’t able to climb beyond 24000 feet.

The fast rate of fuel consumption left the pilots no options than to divert to Nagpur Airport for refueling, as the pilots began to prepare the aircraft for landing it was only when they decided to put down the landing gear that they realised that it was down all along!

Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar confirmed the incident. He said both the pilots have been derostered and an investigation is on.

Article in The Times of India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/wheels-down-air-india-flies-into-mid-air-fuel-crisis/articleshow/59747213.cms

Discussion forum: http://www.luchtzak.be/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=61889

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