ONE Year on the Web
6th April 1997

The Jungle Telegraph

By Alia

The cockpit chat had it all

A Russian-built SLAF AN 32 on a training flight on March 25 figured in an incident over the skies of Ratmalana, as exclusively reported in Situation Report on this page last week.

What went wrong? The reasons are now known.

The parking brakes were on when it took off. When the aircraft did not move at the first shy, the pilot applied greater thrust and was airborne. The wheels dragged and there was friction when it happened.

The pilot and the co-pilot discovered the fault only after they were airborne. They decided to land. The tyres burst as they touched down. Before choosing to abort the training mission and touch down, the duo chatted about the fault and how to report it.

They did not have to say much. The cockpit voice recorder had all their conversation. So instead of talking about some snag, they owned up.

Panic in the air

Pilot’s panic caused the crash of the SLAF’s Israeli-built Kfir interceptor jet fighter, a court of inquiry has ruled.

The pilot had complained of the glass canopy of the jet detaching itself after take off. But the court has held that it did not in any way endanger the pilot, the aircraft or the flight.

Talking of the Kfir crash, many readers may be unaware of a gem from the Operational Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, the sole Government agency dishing out information to Sri Lankans and the entire world on the separatist war.

Reporting on the incident, this is what their press release said.... “The aircraft had landed in the Negombo lagoon.” But unfortunately for the Ministry, the next day, national newspapers published photographs from the scene of the incident.

They showed mangled pieces of metal of all sizes. That was all that remained of the Kfir. But asking Sri Lankans to believe it “landed in the Negombo lagoon” is a bit too much unlike enemy casualty figures that come in even numbers of 100s, 50s or their multiples.

Victory shuffle

With a resounding victory at the local polls, there are moves to strengthen the Government’s publicity machinery. Coming weeks will see a change, at least in the war front. It will be a case of old faces in new places.

Caught with pants down

Many are the ruses unscrupulous syndicates adopt to smuggle humans to western capitals.

Some young Sri Lankans aspiring to get themselves a share in prosperity paid a local “travel agent” handsomely. After weeks of promises, two anxious aspirants were given their tickets and briefed on what to do.

But their dreams ended in delusion even before they could board a flight.

As they cleared formalities at the airport, two attractive damsels earned the admiring glances of a few airport officials. But not for long.

They were soon found out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing or just men in women’s garb.

It was a case of being caught with their ...... Well, well, that was what a Customs officer was heard to remark. The duo did not make the right declaration.

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