Initial findings reveals that a design flaw in the Indian Air Force’s advanced light helicopter, Dhruv, may have caused the crash killing seven crewmen dead on July 25.
The advanced light helicopter crashed in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh barely an hour after it had taken off from Bareilly resulting in one of the worst accidents involving a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chopper.
“Preliminary findings point to structural problems in the ill-fated chopper. These flaws seriously compromised its airworthiness and led to complete loss of control,” an IAF sources told the Hindustan Times.
A helicopter’s airframe is its primary structural element that holds all other components together. Structural failure is mainly due to a design flaw or metal
fatigue and stress on a particular section of the airframe could lead to metal giving way.
The Dhruv has faced tail rotor problems in the past — the entire fleet was grounded in 2006 — but those issues were ironed out, the report said.
Sources also told Hindustan Times that said extensive checks were being carried out on the IAF’s Dhruv fleet of 40 choppers and the ones found airworthy were now flying. The IAF, army, navy and coast guard together operate more than 100 Dhruv helicopters. HAL will be producing another 60, each worth Rs 35 crore.