The near miss at the Mumbai airport between the Air India Mumbai-Delhi Flight IC 866 and an Indian Air Force helicopter from President Pratibha Devisingh Patil's fleet on Monday was not an isolated case.
CNN-IBN has exclusive log book extracts that show how the President's convoy of helicopters broke rules in December at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.
Any of the cases could have proven fatal for many fliers.
On December 21, 2008 at the Delhi airport, three Indian Air Force MI 8 helicopters with the President aboard prepared to take off for Meerut.
The visibility was less than 1000 metres when the commander sought permission to fly in formation.
The permission was denied as log extracts available exclusively with CNN-IBN show. Formation flying is allowed only when visibility is higher. The convoy acknowledged the ATC command.
However, minutes later, the helicopters took off, flying in formation, breaking safety rules set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
It wasn't the first time the India Air Force flouted the commands of civilian air traffic controllers, say air traffic control (ATC) sources.
On April 23, 2008, the Prime Minister's aircraft approached New Delhi. As it came in to land, an unidentified aircraft, not responding to ATC commands, came dangerously close.
It was later identified as an Indian Air Force Dornier, having the call sign DO 82.
In 2007 an Air Force plane flying Sonia Gandhi from Srinagar came too close to a Virgin Atlantic aircraft coming from London.
The air traffic controller was suspended for procedural breach
But one of the worst near misses involving Air Force aircraft took place in January 2005, 350 km from Delhi.
A climbing Air Force plane strayed dangerously close to a Saudi Airlines Boeing, came in the path of a British Airways aircraft and finally crosses a Boeing belonging to Emirates Airways.
Air Force officials and air traffic controllers admit to poor coordination but they are also quick to shift blame.
Several attempts to make them work in tandem have been unsuccessful.
After Monday's incident at the Mumbai airport, which put not just the President, but the lives of 148 passenger in danger, it is even more urgent that they work together to ensure safer skies.
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