According to sources, the 26-year-old plan that crashed near Mumbai, killing all 4 on board and a construction worker on the ground, was in repairs for months before its test flight yesterday. Th was its first flight in around 9 years.
Sources said that the Beechcraft King Air C90 model aircraft was transported from Delhi to Mumbai by a truck. Engineers of Indamer, an aviation repair & maintenance company, had to fix it for months. The weather conditions were not suitable for a test flight yesterday. This was also indicated by the husband of Captain Maria Zuberi, one of the 2 pilots who died in the crash.
The plan took for its 50-minute test flight a little afternoon from the Juhu airstrip after a puja, with engineers cheering its take-off. At a height of around 700 feet, the plan was hit by a snag.
P Kuthariya said that he had been told by his wife that the flight had been put off.
He said,”A test flight was aborted yesterday as the runway was filled with water. It was to be aborted again today, due to bad weather. The flight could have been avoided. Haste, if any, was wrong, lives could have been saved.”
Kuthariya said,”It should be the weather or a snag. The plane was damaged, they got it repaired. Got to know pilots tried a lot to save the flight, they crashed before they could complete the emergency landing.”
Captain Zuberi & her co-pilot Captain Pradeep Rajput had, in their last moments, been able to avoid a school & several high-rises before crashing into a construction site.
According to UP officials, the privately-owned plan, a 12-seater, was sold by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2014. It had been grounded & was sitting on a hanger since an accident on February 22, 2008. The aircraft skidded off the runway while landing in Allahabad. As the UP government tried to sell it in auctions, the tender document made it clear it was not in serviceable condition.
6 years after the crash, the UP government was able to sell it to a private company, which in turn sold the plane to Mumbai-based UY Aviation.