The Buddha Air crash in September was a mountain view flight that crashed on its return to KTM into a hill on the valley rim because of poor visibilty. Early investigations siggested pilot error but the final report is yet to be released.
As I understand it that was Buddha Air's first crash with fatalities and their overall safety records compare favourably with other airlines.
Buddha air is by far the safest domestic airlines flying over the Nepalese sky,its been operating flights since 1998 with only the one maiden crash that has been mentioned above.
Goof info posted above
Nepal has a surprisingly good safety record for all of its domestic airlines, especially if you consider the terrain they are flying over, that several airstrips are still grass / un surfaced and that many of the planes are quite old.
I have taken lots if domestic flights in Nepal with several airlines including Buddha Air and never worry – So I would say you should do the same – Travel with Good Karma and you will be fine
Thanks everyone for your reply. I am booking for 6 of us and want to be thorough in my research. I did a google search and also learned that the pilots are trained in the US and the planes come direct to them from the factory.
The crash report investigators have requested a 45 day extension on their investigation.
As a recreational pilot (and having also flown over hilly terrain in Nepal few times) I can tell you that flying in Nepal is not easy. Not sure if you have seen a show called “World’s top 10 dangerous airports” in History channel last year – I remember it listed Lukla as the most dangerous airport in the world. In that episode a Nepalese pilot Mr. Lama summarizes it the best – (I paraphrase) - the wind, the terrain, short runway and upslope - all of these elements working against you and mentally you drink all that up - while trying to land. Nepal Airlines and Buddha Air have relatively good safety records considering the odds stacked up against them. I am actually worried more about the equipment maintenance (lack there of) than the training of the pilots. Back in US air worthiness is scrutinized a lot more. Not sure if that is the case in this part of the world.
I have taken Buddha Air mountain flight myself and had a chance to go to cockpit briefly, exchanged few words and I got the sense that these pilots were very professional. And when I read about the recent crash I wanted to find out more. Pilot error seems to be the cause based on what I have read. Visibility was poor and they seemed to be flying way close to the terrain on their final approach to the KTM airport. An experienced commercial pilot who flies into same airport day in day out should know how high and how far from the runway he or she is based on the instruments alone (IFR) even without VFR. But pilots can make mistake misreading the instruments (or not reading it at all) in the absence of visibility that would otherwise make it more obvious. Combine that with whether or not the pilot dude had had a decent sleep the night before or was out late partying – the odds are stacked up against you quickly – specially doing the early morning flight on the most hostile place to fly. (I am not saying that is the case here – but exploring scenarios). I will end with the comment that roads in Nepal are far more dangerous than flying ever is – it’s just that they rarely make the international headlines. There’s always risk in flying but a lot less than lots of other things in life. I say I will take my chances – will fly and enjoy the mountains. If it crashes last thought in my mind will be “what way to go though”.
Well, after the last post, luckily you are not flying in or out of Lukla.!!!! Just joking, it is probably just fine as so many, many tourists have done it on their journeys to the beginning of the trek to Everest Base Camp.
All is AOK, we were seated in comfortable seats and given a lolly and glass of water (or maybe Coke if requested....not sure). The scenery was absolutely magnificent. We were pretty annoyed that we had spent 5 weeks in Nepal with only one day of mountain views until then. (It was March/April - a season to be avoided due to the burning off). However, on the Buddha Air flight, we witnessed the most spectacular scenery from our window.
And, yes, yes, yes.....I was scared about Buddha Air prior to the flight. This was probably due to unsubstantiated reports on the internet. Please do not be afraid. A plane crash can happen anywhere. I honestly do not feel that it is that more likely with Buddha Air than most other airlines. The pilots are supposed to be very experienced in dealing with the terrain of high mountains and up/down drafts, so that is reassuring. Gee....you know if we worried about every flight like this, we would never fly anywhere.
Give it a go!!!!
"you know if we worried about every flight like this, we would never fly anywhere" - very true !
I'm a nervous flyer, but have managed to cope with flights into and out of Lukhla on several occasions, and similarly to Pokhara, except that I find the Pokhara flight far less worrying. As has been said above, given the conditions then by and large the safety record is (surprisingly) good, and Buddha Air seems to be amongst the best providers.
Take the flight, and enjoy the superb mountain views on the way.
The crashes there was in Nepal was dued to bad weather contition. The high mountain valley of khumbu can be very dangerous if it's foggy, or during raining days. For this reason TIA stops the flights coming and going to Lukla when the weather is no good. This happens also for Jomsom and others mountain remote areas.
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