Try Google Earth

02 Sep


YSR Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, is currently missing. His helicopter vanished in the heavily forested district of Kurnool during what appears to have been a routine flight. There has been no contact with anybody onboard since 9.35 a.m. and weather conditions are dismal due to heavy rains, which means search and rescue operations are going to be seriously hampered.

I can only hope they all make it back safe and sound.

What really caught my attention, however, in the continuing coverage of this incident are the details pertaining to the helicopter. Talk about a bad news chopper:

The 10-year-old aircraft is not only missing its (mandatory, yearly) Certificate of Airworthiness, but its full list foibles is mind-boggling. For example, the Dalai Lama did a test run for Reddy a while back as the same chopper developed unspecified technical difficulties in midair when he was a passenger. Then there was a windshield that cracked and had to be replaced. And a couple of times in between, the pilot ended up hovering over the landing site, searching for a helipad or alternative space to park his machine because the chopper was fed the wrong coordinates.

This, by the way, is in a state with a serious Naxalite problem. If this is the kind of care and attention V.I.P.s get in Andhra Pradesh, the Naxals must be dumber than a trainload of bricks not to have run the place over by now. Reddy would have been better off in a helicopter he built in his backyard and piloted himself.

And if you’re wondering why this wonderful machine hadn’t been packed off to the junkyard (or wherever it is bad helicopters go to die) a long time ago, the answer is very simple: it was being used to train pilots. Because, you know, the best place for a pilot-in-training is in the cockpit of a machine that’s falling apart and hasn’t followed safety or security regulations in years. Who cares?

Until, of course, somebody important hops onboard one day and things hit the fan.

However, we can all rejoice in the knowledge that the chopper in question is also “equipped with at least two radio systems, weather radar and emergency locator transmitter, among other sophisticated equipment, and is certified for day and night operations.” It’s another matter that none of these is currently working, during the day or night.

Which is why the government is now asking locals in the area to keep their eyes open for any loud, unexplained noises or sights because that might be a helicopter crashing into trees rather than the annual meeting of the elephant fight club or whatever scandal goes on in those parts.

Too bad Kurnool doesn’t have Streetview.

Update: YS Rajasekhara Reddy 1949-2009


Posted by on September 2, 2009 in News, Newsmakers, Politics


8 responses to “Try Google Earth

  1. pitu

    September 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Note to self: never, ever hitch a ride in a plane/copter in AP ūüėÄ

  2. sachita

    September 2, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    When actress Soundarya’s helicopter had problems, I had assumed some sort of miscreant at play( a greedy family member or something like that) because I thought we have enough technology atleast handle a helicopter. it just now became clear the miscreant was the helicopter.

  3. Gradwolf

    September 3, 2009 at 3:26 am

    And it really takes that long to search a 200 km radius? Even with 5000 CRPF men, the army, the air force, tribals etc!?

  4. BlueMist

    September 3, 2009 at 5:45 am

    It is too late to discuss. The damage is done. Hopefully people learn from this. That’s all we can hope for.

  5. contrarian

    September 4, 2009 at 10:05 am

    • contrarian

      September 4, 2009 at 10:10 am

      watch it from 3:11 or so

  6. Amrita

    September 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Pitu – right?!

    Sachita – it just now became clear the miscreant was the helicopter : HAHAHAH!

    Adithya – the point is, it shouldn’t have been a 200 km area in the first place!

    Contrarian – you know, just when I thought I’d seen it all with that clip of some guy helpfully explaining that the reason the emergency transmitter didn’t work was because the batteries were on the blink as they apparently usually are (!!), I see that video with the postmortem being conducted in a tent on the field. I appreciate how difficult the terrain must have been, but this story just keeps getting worse, the more details I hear. Thanks the clip!

  7. Awesome

    November 1, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Great. This guy is dead. One less politician. Awesome!!!!

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