Meet the Brave Pilot Atish Shinge Who Landed Engine Failed Aircraft Safely – An Exclusive
Meet the Brave Pilot Atish Shinge Who Landed Engine Failed Plane Safely Saving 173 Passengers and six plane crew- An Exclusive
Mangaluru: The job of a pilot is not an easy one, especially during bad weather conditions or during mechanical faults. Pilots often have to fly planes in difficult and terrible weather conditions. Air Force pilots are trained for such routine climatic conditions, in fact these turbulence help in camouflage when dealing with enemies in enemy territory but they do not carry civilians aboard their aircraft and are not responsible for the lives of several people. However, commercial pilots have to be responsible for the several passenger lives that they fly from one destination to another and often during monsoons and storm- and also in case of engine failure or other mechanical problems.
Recalling the incident which took place on the evening of 21 September 2018 , Air India Express IX 821 that was carrying over 173 passengers along with six aircraft crew from Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) to Doha, had to make a emergency landing back at the MIA airport due to major technical failure within 45 minutes of its take-off. If the pilot had not applied technical expertise and presence of mind, it was possible that the plane would have crashed- and that all the passengers/aircraft crew would have perished. The pilot with confidence had landed the aircraft even though it was running on a single engine, and his act of bravery, quick thinking and expertise had received appreciation from all circles.
Team Mangalorean had the privilege to meet this young and brave pilot during the New Year’s Eve bash at Hotel Taj Gateway-Manjarun on 31 December 2018, while he was celebrating the last day of the year 2018 with his family and friends- and who was introduced to Yours Truly by my friend Glen Patrao’s wife Ms Doreen, who is Hotel Reservation In-Charge at the Taj. Meet 44-year-old Atish Shinge hailing from Mumbai, who had fulfilled the task intelligently and with utmost care, which the experts have agreed without any arguments. During an exclusive interview with Atish on 10 January 2019, due to his busy schedule all these days, he made time to meet Team Mangalorean and answer few queries.
Atish Shinge hailing from Mumbai, after completing his BE in Electric/Electronics in Belgaum at Gogte Institute of Technology (GIT) in 1996, joined Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA) in Raebareli in Lucknow, UP where he obtained his Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) after completion of two years course. After that he worked as a pilot for a Private Aircraft of Bajaj Tempo (now called Force Motors) for one year, and then joined Alliance Air and worked there also for a year, and later in the year 2003 joined Air India, and till date Atish has been with AI since then, as Commander/Check Pilot (LTC). Married he is a proud father of two children, Akrin age 13 doing His schooling ( 8th Std) and Aahi, aged 11, also doing her schooling ( 6th Std) in Mumbai- and both of them want to follow in their father’s footsteps to become pilots.
Co-Pilot Shusant Thakur
When asked to narrate the incident that took place on 21 September 2018, Atish said, “About 5.30 pm or so, after the aircraft took off, at the height of 30,000 ft above ground level and 22m climbing, I heard a loud noise, due to Enginge surge. I noticed the engine temperature beyond the limits (going up) and I quickly pulled the thrust lever back, to control the temperature. Even though the Left engine seemed to be under control, but it eventually led into complete engine failure. I managed to descend the aircraft with only right engine running, and it was one of my FIRST experience to descend a aircraft full of fuel ( around 8 tonne) while landing. Usually when the plane lands most of the fuel is consumed, but here since we had to return back after a short time, it was a Hercules task on my shoulders”.
” I could hear the passengers panic, many crying, some chanting prayers etc. My first thing was to control the aircraft, and the second part was to declare ‘May day’, so I sent a emergency message to the airport ATS centre at Chennai, stating that an engine had stopped working within few minutes of take-off, and that I was returning back to land at MIA. It took nearly 25 minutes to land, and it was a perfect landing without any problems. Thanks also to my co-pilot, Shushant Thakur from Mumbai, a Trainee First Officer, for his assistance in the cockpit during this ordeal. I came to know that there was anxiety in the airport after the message, and that the officials had passed on the message to Bajpe police station and other concerned, at about 6.20 pm that the plane will make emergency landing” added Shinge.
Atish seen with Ratan Tata
He further said, ” I learnt that the emergency preparations had started in the airport soon after the message spread that the aircraft will make emergency landing. It was dangerous to land such a large plane with 173 passengers, luggage and staff when one engine failed. But I was confident that with my experience and technical knowledge that I would handle such situation successfully, and I am overwhelmed that I did it. After informing the Chennai Control centre about the engine failure, I then made an announcement to the passengers that the left engine has failed without any warning, however, in order to comfort them I said that there was nothing to worry about, and that we pilots are trained to handle such situations, and we will do our best to land the aircraft safely. In the meantime, the passengers in the aircraft had informed their relatives before emergency landing, and therefore some of their relatives who had come to see them off had returned to the airport”.
“After landing the aircraft safely, while I stood at the exit door of the plane I could see the happiness on the faces of the passengers, and one passenger even said, “Allah Ke Badd, Aap Ka Nam Leunga “(After Allah’s Name, I will Say your Name). Many passengers lauded and complimented my efforts, which meant a lot to me, since I saved 173 plus people aboard this plane. I want to praise all the efforts put in by Senior Air-hostess Sherin Thomas and her team for taking care of the passengers during the scary ordeal. Even though this was my first major mid-air incident, I am happy that I handled it safely and was an accomplished mission. Such an incident never happened in my tenure as pilot so far, but I am proud that I managed and succeeded in handling the incident safely and successfully. Landing the plane with extra 8 tonne with fuel was something a great experience and big achievement for me, descending the plane with higher landing speed in this case and also with one engine operational, which of course needed absolute precision flying and handling, which I did and proved it. I was thrilled and was beaming with pride” added Shinge.
When asked whether the defect was not seen before the plane left the airport during maintenance check, for which Atish replied, “In the maintenance check list that we do prior to lift-off, no mechanical defects were shown. Just like problems could happen in any vehicle even after proper maintenance, similar was the case here, where unfortunately engine failure occurred in mid air. But thankfully, everything was under control and we landed the aircraft safely, keeping in mind to save the lives of all the people on the aircraft”.
Atish seen with his children and AI duty Manager Arun Kumar
What was your reaction during and after this ordeal, for which Shinge replied, ” After I landed the aircraft safely, I was a little bit nervous as to what the enquiry guys would ask sleuthing into the incident, and what else that I would face, but everything went on well. And I am grateful to my employer for standing by me during this situation. My success in my life is only because of Air India, and I have been treated and well cared for, and I want to remain with Air India forever, no matter under any circumstances. Earlier being as a pilot on AI Airbus 310 flying to Africa, Far East Hong-Kong, Singapore etc, and also on AI Boeing 777 flying to USA, but since three years my service on AI Express to Gulf departing from MIA, has brought me close to this beautiful and friendly city of Mangaluru, which is just a Home Away from Home. When I am off duty, I explore the goodness Mangaluru has to offer, and have tried all the coastal delicacies. The staff at Hotel Taj Gateway are courteous and friendly, and the Mangaloreans that I meet are also friendly- therefore I am blessed to be a pilot with Air India, and also to be in this friendly town of Mangaluru. No regrets at all!”.
Team Mangalorean is proud of Commander Atish Shinge for his brave, precision landing and handling of the unfortunate incident on Air India Express IX 821, and saving the lives of 173 passengers. Kudos and success galore in your career, and may God bless you!