24 August 2010

Nepal DO228 Accident

Video is from Nepal TV and the aircraft is the Dornier DO228, 9N-AHE.

This morning's accident to an Agni Air flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (Tenzing-Hillary) airport is again a reminder of how difficult flying conditions in Nepal are, and how little the flights receive in a form of ATM services.

Lukla airport is at an altitude of 9380 FT. Its runway is 1729 FT long and about 66 FT wide with bitumen surface. It is inclined by about 12 %. There are no instrument landing system at Lukla and in fact only possible system would be based on GNSS, but there are no GNSS procedures designed for Lukla or any other airport in Nepal. The main reason seems to be an old-fashioned inclination against other than conventional navaids.

Tne Nepalese surveillance system is not much better, there is an PSR/SSR station in Katmandu Valley but its coverage is hampered by the local terrain and is usefol only within a very small area around the Katmandu TIA International Airport and, therefore, its use is very limited even within the Kathmandu TMA, e.g. ATC are not allowed to vector traffic at all.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Nepal (CAAN) are in a process of improving their NAV and SUR services and may be also looking at possibilities to utilise GNSS (SBAS and/or GBAS augmentation) and ADS-B systems (Mode S ES). A basic GPS has been mandated in Nepal (no official IFR procedures), but all the domestic flights are still equipped with Mode A/C transponders only. But there is a very strong willingness within the CAAN and the pilot community to move forward with modernisation.