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DGCA Issues Guidelines for Safe Helicopter Operations During Char Dham Yatra 2023

Helicopter Operators to Ensure CCTV Cameras and AIRS for Safe Pilgrimage Operations during Char Dham Yatra

28-02-2023 : The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has released a circular ahead of the Char Dham Yatra, which is set to commence on May 3, outlining the conduct of helicopter pilgrimage operations for 2023. The circular lists the responsibilities of helicopter operators and provides guidance for Shrine Boards and District Administrations to ensure safe and smooth operations. Several seasonal helicopter operations are conducted every year for religious pilgrimages to shrines located in the hills, such as Shri AmarnathJi, Shri Kedarnath Ji, Char Dham, Mata Machhail, Mani Mahesh, and Mata Vaishno Devi. The guidelines for helicopter operators include the installation of CCTV cameras and uninterrupted power supply at helipads, while AIRS (Airborne Image Recording System) will be installed and used in helicopters.

The Head of Flight Safety of the operator shall conduct FOQA (Flight Operations Quality Assurance) once every 7 days for each helicopter registration number / MSN, by retrieving and analysing the data of flight parameters. This circular aims to ensure safe and secure helicopter operations during various yatras, including Shri Kedarnath Yatra, Chardham Yatra, Shri Amarnath Yatra, Mata Machail Yatra, Mani Mahesh Yatra, Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra, and Emergency Response Plan. However, this move comes after several incidents, including the October 2022 crash that killed seven people and a hard landing reported during the Char Dham pilgrimage in June 2022.

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