Showing posts with label Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Show all posts

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pilots With Forged Certificates/Documents Should Be Charged With Attempt To Culpable Homicide

Recently a lady pilot of IndiGo was found to have forged her marksheets of DGCA Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) test, thereby getting a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and eventually a job with a top commercial airline. In fact, there have been two more such cases that have come to light, wherein a person has got pilot’s job by furnishing forged certificates/documents.

And these three incidents are not isolated incidents. It is not very rare for us to come across news of such frauds, wherein incompetent people are found to have gathered CPL though unfair and illegal means.

I personally feel that such people should be charged with attempt to culpable homicide. They themselves know it pretty well that when they fly a commercial airline, they very much put the lives of the passengers in danger (apart from their own lives). And I do not feel that it is too much to demand that such elements are charged with attempt to culpable homicide. Such a strong charge is also likely to play an effective deterrent for the shameless people who indulge in such crimes.

I appeal to the concerned authorities (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, etc.) to have a serious thought on this issue.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

AI Grounds Pilots For Hard Landing – A Highly Unjustified Decision

The Air India authority has grounded two of its pilots for the hard landing of an Airbus A319. The two pilots were in charge of the Mumbai-Rajkot flight of 29th May, 2010, which made a landing of 1.9G (i.e. a hard landing) on the Rajkot runway. This resulted in some passengers complaining of discomfort and inconvenience. And following this, the Air India management decided to ground those pilots pending investigation.

Incidentally, this decision to ground the pilots over hard landing came just three days before Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked airlines not to judge the quality of a landing on the basis of whether it was a hard landing or a soft one.

Personally I feel that the decision to ground those two pilots is completely unjustified. It has already been proved that the Indian airlines’ over obsession with soft landing entails strong threat to passenger safety. It is this attitude of airlines that forces pilots to go for soft landing even when they know that it is risky. In fact, as everybody knows it by now, that one possible reason behind the Mangalore air crash was the pilot’s desperation to avoid hard landing even though it seemed to be the only way out.

In any case, DGCA has now recognized the fact that the quality of landing has nothing to do with whether it is a hard landing or a soft one. Therefore, the Air India management should withdraw its decision and reinstate the pilots with immediate effect.

And one suggestion for the air passengers – Please stay away from complaining when your flight makes a hard landing. Yes, it causes inconveniences. But you must realize that if the pilot has made a hard landing, then there must have been some reason behind it.

Hard landing may entail inconvenience. But soft landing entails lack of safety. And you will certainly prefer an inconvenient landing rather than a risky one, right?

Please remember that it is your complaint on the occasion of a hard landing that is compelling the airlines to force their pilots to go for soft landing even when it is risky. So, please behave a bit responsibly.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Does The Mangalore Air Crash Suggest That We Should Bid Farewell To “Special Airports”?

Among many factors that are being highlighted as the ones to have triggered the tragic Mangalore air crash is the point that the Bajpe airport of Mangalore is a “special airport”.

What are “special airports”? Well, “special airports” are usually the ones which are located in hilly and mountainous regions, and also the ones which lie close to water bodies (such as rivers and seas). Landing and take-off activities on such airports are much tougher in comparison to that on other airports, with just a fraction of mistake on the part of the pilot likely to cause serious mishaps. No wonder that only experienced pilots are permitted to take off from or land on “special airports”.

The Bajpe airport was in the list of the “special airports” of India, thanks to its location on a hillock, and its runway being built on a flat stretch of land. Both ends of the runway slope downwards, with its safety area being just of 90 meters against the 300-metre norm.

The other “special airports” of India include the airports in Leh, Kozhikode (or Calicut), Port Blair, Srinagar and Agatti (Lakshadweep).

After the heartbreaking Mangalore mishap the Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA should take a fresh and analytical look at the existing operational mechanisms that the Indian civil aviation sector adheres to. And one of the issues that they should very seriously look at is whether they should at all retain the use of “special airports”.

Three more issues I will request them to look at.

a.)They should decide whether they will retain the existing bar on “hard landing”. Notably, some experts have pointed out that the existing bar on hard landing might have forced the pilot to try landing in a different way, which eventually resulted in the accident. And significantly “hard landing” is a safe option.

b.)They should also ensure that pilots (and also other crews) get adequate break and rest before flying. This will understandably reduce the possibility of accidents due to pilot fatigue.

c.)Every airline must have a single, toll-free number which can be contacted by relatives and friends on the event of an accident. Every time a plane or rail accident takes place, I find TV channels flashing such “emergency contact nos”, which keep moving away before one notes them down. More importantly, is it possible for a person to sit calmly and watch the TV if he comes to know that the plane or train his relative was traveling has met with an accident? He will be excited, dumbstruck, perplexed, etc. Under such circumstances, it will be very helpful for him or his friends and other relatives to have the ready knowledge of a number where they can contact to make queries about their loved one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DGCA Orders Grounding Of Paramount Airways

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of Paramount Airways, the Coimbatore-based regional carrier.

So what is Paramount’s fault? Well, as per civil aviation guidelines, it is mandatory for a scheduled operator (national) to maintain a minimum strength of five aircrafts.

And unfortunately, Paramount (which earlier had five aircrafts) was of late operating with just one aircraft.

Quite naturally DGCA had no option except to order the cancellation of Paramount’s license.

The airlines has now moved the Delhi High Court against DGCA’s order. Let’s see what happens now.