NEW DELHI --- On February 1, two experienced Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots died when their newly upgraded Mirage 2000-I fighter crashed while taking-off in Bengaluru. A Court of Inquiry (CoI) investigating the accident is now confronting the worrying possibility of a glitch in the Mirage 2000’s flight computer that kicks in without warning, causing the aircraft to behave unpredictably.
IAF flight records examined by the CoI have revealed at least four such incidents in the past. In each of these, a flying Mirage 2000 has, suddenly and without command from the pilot, jerked its nose towards the ground. Then, as spontaneously, the nose was jerked upwards. Each time, the aircraft has continued this up-and-down jerking — termed “pitch oscillations” — for several seconds before resuming normal flight.
Members of the CoI from the IAF, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) are veering round to the belief that such an incident caused the February 1 crash. (end of excerpt)
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