View Full Version : Rocket-proof VABB

24th Oct 2006, 15:35
Diwali is no cause for celebration at Mumbai airport. In the past, aerial fireworks have come dangerously close to landing aircraft.

To avoid such catastrophes this year, two constables from the local police station have been placed at a hillock in the Jari Mari slums near the airport’s eastern boundary. The constables prevent people from bursting crackers and even shoo away suspicious-looking people.

Probe after incident

“Last year during Diwali, a firecracker came close to an oncoming aircraft. The pilot, after landing, reported the incident after which the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted an enquiry,” said a top airport official.

The DGCA report surmised that Diwali rockets were fired from a hillock. “When the aircraft is landing on the main runway, it passes the slums of Ghatkopar and Kurla. The rocket was probably fired from the hill in the Jari Mari slums,” said a senior DGCA official.

The DGCA then wrote to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to control fireworks along the airport boundary, which in turn asked the police to look into the matter and ensure the area is kept under watch. BCAS is the apex aviation security body in the country, “Some constables were posted there regularly to ward off any miscreants,” said the official.

According to airport sources, when the aircraft is in the final stages of landing near the hillock, it is between 150 to 300 feet from the ground. “If a Diwali cracker is fired from the hillock, which is probably 100 feet high, it can easily go up to 250 to 300 feet in the sky and endanger the aircraft,” said an official.

This year the DGCA reviewed the safety aspects and ensured that adequate security are put into place. P Mohanan, regional deputy commissioner, BCAS, confirmed that the police were notified after incidents of fireworks coming close to the aircraft were reported. “But after the police started keeping a watch, no incidents have been reported this year,” he said.

jettison valve
24th Oct 2006, 21:53
Last year, I went to BOM for the first time during Diwali. I can remember all the firecrackers from the time when we still had a southerly heading over Navi Mumbai (LH756, FRA-BOM) until touchdown.
This year, I was already on the ground during Diwali. On sunday night, we had dinner on the roof-top of the Orchid Hotel - and we were again amazed by the fireworks around the airport, including the approach sector. :ooh:

I guess nobody´ll change the habit of the Indians in this respect... ;)


25th Oct 2006, 05:32
Mumbai, Diwali day 1996

I was landing on Rwy27 in a Fokker-27 at night.... around 400 feet on approach.

One of those very bright 'high-altitude-capable' Diwali rockets hit our right wing.

I saw it hitting, extinguish on impact, and fall away.

That same rocket could have hit us about 5 metres inboard, and I wonder what damage that could have caused by hitting the engine, landing gear or entering and wedging itself in the wheel-well.

Maybe none... but that was the last time I flew on Diwali days. Always managed to wangle out of my rostered flights over Diwali.

If it's any consolation... I could add that fireworks nowdays are not as much as they used to be 10 years ago. Indians are spending far less on Diwali fireworks now.... but I still stay away! :)