Too much social media causing sleep deprivation among pilots: IAF chief

The IAF chief said a mechanism should be developed to help identify pilots who have not slept well enough before taking off.

Too much social media causing sleep deprivation among pilots: IAF chief
PTI photo

BENGALURU: The alarming levels of dependence on social media and its addiction seems to be affecting the pilots of Indian Air Force also. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Friday said that the ability of the pilots is being hampered as they are facing sleep deprivation due to the long hours they spend on social media. 

Speaking at the 57th annual conference by Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine, the IAF chief urged the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) to develop a mechanism which will help in identifying pilots who have not slept well enough before taking off.

The IAF chief said that dependence on social media is taking away the interpersonal and communication skills. "Earlier if a pilot had one drink too many, the bar man would know. If he failed to notice, the others would know and he'd be laid off flying for the day. Today we even have breath analysers. We need a system today that can tell us if a pilot had been sleep deprived," Dhanoa was quoted by The Times of India. 

He said that by being hooked on to social media, pilots sleep late resulting in lesser hours of sleep than required. "Everybody seems to get on to social media late, it then keeps them awake. Flying sorties when the ambient temperature goes beyond 40 degree Celsius is discouraged so most of them take off early in the day. This means that most flight briefings are as early as 6am and pilots haven't had enough sleep," he said. 

He even recalled a mishap that took place in 2013 at Uttarlai airbase in Rajasthan which he said was due to sleep deprivation. "We even had a fatal accident in 2013 because of this problem. It was found that continuous sleep deprivation was the reason for the accident," he said.

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