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Disaster averted: Jeep on runway forces Air India plane to lift off early from Pune

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NEW DELHI: A person and a jeep on the runway reportedly forced an Air India aircraft on take off roll at Pune to do “early rotation” — meaning lift the nose wheel off the ground earlier — to avoid a mishap. This early rotation led to the Airbus A321 to have a tail strike but the plane took off safely.
The incident happened on Saturday morning when the A321 (VT-PPU) was operating as AI 852 from Pune to Delhi. “During take off roll while at 120 knots speed, crew saw a jeep and a person on the runway. To avoid conflict, they did an early rotation. The A321 had a tail scrape during take off from Pune. It has safely landed at Delhi. AI has been advised to remove the cockpit voice recorder,” said a senior DGCA official.
The aircraft took off at 7.55 am and landed in Delhi at 10.17 am.
“While the probe is on, the action of the pilots saved a potential disaster that would have occurred had the plane rammed the jeep on the runway. No vehicle or person is supposed to be on the runway when an aircraft is taking off or landing. That is recipe for disaster,” said a pilot.
Comments from AI have been sought and are awaited.

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