After this, the ground crew goes through the necessary paperwork, checking fuel on board, weather, souls on board, cargo and baggage weight, etc. It is only after this that the captain takes responsibility for the aircraft and does a ‘walk around’ inspection.
These checks are not ad hoc, and not random – they follow the manufacturer’s and CAAN’s guidelines. We then double check the weather at the destination airport, as well as in two alternative airports. This includes factors like cloud cover, rain, visibility and wind velocity and direction.
Modern aircraft also have triple redundancies, meaning that if one system should fail there are backups. For example if one of the engines in a twin turboprop fails, the plane can still take off and land.
All pilots at Buddha Air have to do a refresher course on simulators every six months, practicing emergency drills that follow international norms. This means there are no short-cuts, and there is no way that the carrier can bypass protocols and safety regulations.
Despite this, I often see reports in the media that are not accurate and sensationalise various aspects of aviation. Journalists unfamiliar with aircraft systems and airline procedures often post inaccurate and misleading information.
For example, an aircraft aborting take-off is not necessarily an emergency. A go-around on approach due to wind or other factors is not a serious incident. These things happen all the time all over the world every day. In fact, they prove that the carrier in question is following safety procedures while reacting to a given situation.
There is no need to panic the public with ill-informed information when a flight is diverted, or if there is moderate to severe turbulence during a journey. Posts on social media tend to exaggerate these experiences, and spread rumours about imaginary dangers.
When passengers get on a flight, they just see the aircraft they are boarding. Many do not see all the processes and actions that have taken place to make that piece of transportation equipment safe and comfortable to travel in.
It is not just Buddha Air that is required to follow these rules and protocols. All Nepali carriers have to follow all of CAAN’s and ICAO’s guidelines on airworthiness and ground handling and flight operations.
Bon voyage, and we wish you a comfortable flight.
Capt Manoj KC has 22 years of flying on Buddha Air’s Raytheon Beechcraft 1900 D and ATR-72 500 aircraft with more than 16,000 flight hours.