Check ‘mental alertness’ of 10 pilots, DGCA tells airline

Check ‘mental alertness’ of 10 pilots, DGCA tells airline

In a first, India’s aviation regulator has asked an airline to check the mental “alertness” of 10 of its pilots and see if they are fit enough to be allowed to fly. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took this unprecedented step after the 10 pilots wrote to the regulator, opposing its proposed move to double the notice period of commanders to a year. Since the DGCA has sought public comments to decide on this proposal, these pilots of one airline sent the same to the regulator.

The letter, which was addressed to the joint director-general, erroneously described him as the “joint director, DGCA” , which is several notches below his position. The joint DG wrote back, saying: “This shows your absent state of mind and not fit condition for flying as the alertness required to perform cockpit tasks appears to be missing. With absent mind, cockpit checks performed in a casual manner may create hazardous situation leading to compromise with safety of aircraft operations.”

The official asked the head of operations to check the “lev of alertness” of these cockpit crew and see if they are fit to fly. It is learnt that at least two of these pilots were grounded but this could not be verified.Pilots of Indian carriers are up in arms against DCGA’s draft civil aviation requirement (CAR) that proposes to double notice period of commanders to a year.

The draft CAR says: “It has been observed that pilots are resigning without providing any notice to airlines. In some cases, even groups of pilots resign together without notice and as a result airlines are forced to cancel their flights at the last minute. Such resignation by the pilots and the resultant cancellation of flights causes inconvenience and harassment to the passengers.”

The authority then moved to raise the notice period to one year for commanders and six months for co-pilots.


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