Kerala is in the midst of a plane crash at Karipur. The death toll from the crash has so far been confirmed at 20. 123 people were reported injured.
Kozhikode’s runway is surrounded by deep gorges on both sides. Tabletop runways are generally constructed by chopping off the top of a hill, and are often thought of as tricky for landings because of the lack of any margin for overshooting the runway.
According to a court of inquiry report on the 2010 crash, prepared by former IAF vice chief of air staff Air Marshal B N Gokhale and a team of experts, “these airfields require extra skill and caution while carrying out flight operations” due to “the undulating terrain and constraints of space”. “The hazard of undershooting and overshooting, in particular, can lead to grave situations,” the report said.
Apart from , Karipur airport in Kerala,Mangalore airport and Lengpui airport in Mizoram are tabletop ones. Runways at these airports, which are located on hilltops, create the optical illusion of being at the same level as the plains below when a pilot comes in for landing.There are indications that the plane may have skidded in Karipur due to rain or snow obscuring the pilot’s view.
Poor weather at Kozhikode airport at the time the Air India Express plane was attempting to land could have worsened the situation. A runway that is subjected to a downpour causes a layer of water to form over the surface that reduces the friction and causes the plane to skid if the brakes are applied. Without full brakes at the crew’s disposal, stopping the aircraft in time becomes even more difficult for the pilots.