New Delhi: Strictest action should be taken
against helicopter pilots if they fly "under pressure" from
VIPs without mandatory technical, weather and other clearances,
a parliamentary panel has said while voicing concern over
recent crashes and instances of take-offs in low visibility.
Suggesting that "some kind of penal provision may be
considered" against those putting such pressure, the panel
whose report was tabled in Lok Sabha today, recommended legal
and administrative protection to the pilots in case they
decline to fly in the absence of clearances or undertake
unscheduled landings in case of bad weather or an emergency.
"Pilots are put under pressure not to oppose these
deficiencies due to commercial or other reasons. It happens
mainly in case of chartered helicopters and those flying VIPs.
Such violation of rules have led to fatal accidents and loss
of several precious lives," the committee, headed by CPI(M)
leader Sitaram Yechury, said.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport,
Tourism and Culture said the pilots should be provided
"adequate legal protection to decline to fly in absence of
mandatory technical or weather clearances".
Expressing concern over recent instances of fatal crashes,
forceful landings and take-offs in low visibility or bad
weather, it also recommended that the entire gamut of
helicopter operations should be reviewed to ensure safer air
It pointed towards the lack of institutions to train
chopper pilots and engineers as also the related
infrastructure across the country.