A government-appointed independent air safety panel has criticised the aviation safety regulator's decision to let off two Jet Airways pilots merely after a one-month suspension for fudging training records this year.
One of the pilots is suspected to have filled in his own
training record - a serious safety violation.
The Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (CASAC) set up after the Air India Express crash at Mangalore in 2010 produced fresh evidence against the two pilots and pressed for a harsher punishment.
The panel has cited discrepancies in the 2010 training records of Captain PP Singh, a senior management pilot. "The new evidence indicates that Captain Singh's 2010 records were also fudged. That means he has been flying without a valid licence," said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, CASAC.
The fresh allegations were made on the basis of Singh's training records submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The document pointed out a striking resemblance between the handwriting of the two pilots who assessed Captain Singh and Captain Singh's signature.
"We have asked the DGCA to appoint a handwriting expert," added he.
The CASAC also pointed out an entry in a column to be filled by a trainer pilot. "It seems that Captain Singh signed it by mistake and then struck it off," added Ranganthan.
The panel pointed out a similar safety check taken by Captain Singh in 2010. It entails two parts: two hours as a pilot and two hours as a non-flying cockpit member. The second part is crucial to gauge a pilot's skill to handle an emergency when he is not the principal aviator. The panel alleged Captain Singh had skipped the second part of the training.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said, "We have concluded the probe and submitted findings to DGCA. Subsequently, the company does not wish to make any further comments."