Tough to prove actual flying hrs: Aviation experts

Despite a host of counter-measures taken by regulatory body DGCA after a dozen arrests including pilots for faking documents, aviation experts feel that it is difficult to prove logging of actual flying hours.

Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 12:49 PM IST

New Delhi: Despite a host of counter-
measures taken by regulatory body DGCA after a dozen arrests
including pilots for faking documents, aviation experts feel
that it is difficult to prove logging of actual flying hours.

Even though steps like online examinations for pilot
licenses and stringent measures to audit flying schools are on
the anvil, aviation experts say most of these schools function
in remote areas which are not covered by the air traffic
control (ATC) network.

"Generally, the flying clubs are located in areas
where there is no ATC network. This is not only true for India
but in foreign countries too. This is because flying practices
are carried out in an airspace where there is no commercial
flying activity," they said.
"Therefore, you do not have any counter-proof to make
out whether a trainee has flown 10 or 20 hours or how many
rounds has a trainer aircraft flown on a daily or weekly
basis, barring what is written in the log-book," the experts,
who requested anonymity, said.

It is possible to maintain all flying records on an
airspace where ATC coverage exists.

In a bid to revamp the functioning of flying schools,
the DGCA has called a meeting of all such institutes on
Tuesday.
As almost all types of aircraft used to impart flight
training are small ones, the experts also said that these
planes are not fitted with Flight Data Recorders (FDRs) or the
`black box` that can record all relevant data on specific
aircraft performance parameters.

The FDRs are costlier than the price of these small
airplanes, generally two-seaters like different types of
Cessna, Piper or Beechcraft which are used to impart flying
training, they said.

The FDRs or the Cockpit Voice Recorders are installed
in the large planes like the Boeing or Airbus variants.

To questions on the investigations and arrests of
pilots and others in forgery cases, they said police was going
by evidences of bribery or if someone is living beyond his
means which would stand in the court of law. They, however,
expressed doubts about the technical aspects of the case.

However, the experts said detailed Civil Aviation
Requirements or aviation regulations have been laid down by
the DGCA to ensure that all flying schools follow them and
they are audited from all angles by the aviation regulatory
authority in a stringent manner.

They said that air travel boomed in India in the last
decade, leading to the rise of several private airlines and
heightened demand for pilots.

This, they said, has resulted in a shortage of
experienced pilots and airlines have been struggling to hire
them to meet the demand.

PTI