Murphy's Law: Learn By Doing It Wrong


September 20, 2009: For the third time this year, Indian fighter pilots have bombed Indian territory, and not on a bombing range. The most recent incident had a pilot dropping a hundred pound bomb just twelve kilometers from a town in Rajasthan. Worse, the bomb exploded a kilometer from two small villages, and, worst of all, a hundred feet from a major canal. If the canal had been breached, nearby farmland and villages would have been flooded, and water supply interrupted for thousands of families. The pilot dropped the bomb 25 kilometers from where he was supposed to. This time, there were no injuries or damage to property. The two earlier incidents (in February) caused property damage.

This is why fighter pilots must train dropping bombs, although in this case neither the pilot, nor anyone else at his base realized that the intended target had been missed. It wasn't until the next day that local civilians dared to approach the site of the mysterious explosion, and alerted police. The cops quickly concluded that this was an aerial bomb and, still not knowing who was responsible, contacted the air force. Armed with the information from the police, air force officials quickly figured out that the culprit was one of their aircraft. It's still not known if the reason was technical (the bomb release mechanism) or pilot error. All this has put pressure on the air force to improve the quality of its pilot training, and how this training is supervised. While embarrassing, the three errant bombs will make Indian pilots more proficient, via improved training methods, and better supervision.


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