The horrific crash of the PIA’s flight PK-661 from Chitral to Islamabad in the mountainous areas of Havelian with 42 passengers and 5 crew members on December 6, 2016, left no survivor and filled the nation’s eyes into tears.
The model of the aircraft was ATR 42-500, the most recent version of ATR series of aircraft. The plane PK-661 which met its fate was delivered to Pakistan in 2007, with Registration AP-BHO.
ATR 42-500 has six-bladed propeller attached to each wing which are certified to be safe, sturdy and well performer in various conditions.
Though the PK-661 has faced an engine failure in 2014 and soon it was replaces and since then the plane was performing fine.
Before the crash the plane had flown 18,740 hours, Class-A checked just a month ago and was in perfect condition for a flight.
Chairman of PIA confirmed that, the captain of the aircraft Salehyar Janjua was a well versed pilot with the flight experience of more than 12,000 hours and has extensive experience of flying in northern areas and conditions.
Pilot of ill-fated PK661 had extensive experience of flying in northern areas, which means that he was well versed with the route and conditions where PK-661 crashed.
The details of the crashed flight are as follows;
- Aircraft Type: ATR 42-500
- Manufacturer: ATR
- Registration: AP-BHO
- Certificate of Registration Number: 751
- Registration Date: May 18, 2007
- Operator/Owner: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)
- Construction Number: 663
- Year Built: 2007
- First Flight: May 3, 2007
- Test Flight Registration: F-WWLU
- Delivery Date: May 14, 2007
- Aircraft Name: Hasanabdal
Weather conditions at the time of crash in the area were quite normal.
Weather values for Havelian at the time of the crash are as follows;
- Time of incident: 4:10PM
- Temperature: 23.0 °C
- Dew Point: 10.0 °C
- Humidity: 44%
- Air Pressure: 1016 hPa
- Visibility: 16KM
- Wind Direction: SE
- Wind speed: 7.4 km/h
Fight PK-661 signaled an engine failure at 4:12 pm at the height of 13,375 and right after it started to descend.
In the beginning the descend was gradual and controlled until it reached the height of 12,800 feet.
Then it descended again and reached 12,175 feet in inordinate manner.
In the next 60 seconds it lost another 2,000 feet, and in next few milliseconds lost another 1,800 feet in a free fall.
The next moment it fell more 4,000 feet freely and disappeared from the radar around 4:13 pm.
The free fall of the PK-661 is evidence that it had damaged it structurally or it would be able to glide freely to some distance.
ATR is able to glide even if both of the engines are switched off or malfunctioned. If the structure of the plane would be intact it would be able to glide 20-25 KM before hitting the ground from the height of 13,000 feet.
The engine of the fight might have went off and blew away the wing and effect the aerodynamics of the aircraft, otherwise one engine of the plane would be sufficient to handle the situation.