It’s election season and hundreds of helicopters are expected to whirl around the country in the coming months, carrying rally-hopping netas.
Keeping this in mind, the country’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has come up with a slew of guidelines so that helicopter operators heed to safety precautions.
DGCA has issued a circular particularly for state-owned or private aircraft and helicopters carrying political leaders and VIPs.
The regulator has made it clear that only helicopters having a Non-Scheduled Permit can be used commercially to carry passengers for remuneration.
“Many small operators don’t have this permit but still use helicopters commercially to carry politicians. Sometimes, many safety measures are not carried out by them,” said a senior DGCA official who did not wish to be named.
DGCA wants helicopters to be equipped with Instrument Landing System receivers, if possible. These receivers are usually used by airplanes for safe landing even when visibility is poor.
Helicopters used to carry politicians and VIPs should be at least twin-engined and must have a current certificate of airworthiness with all mandatory modifications complied with.
The guidelines state that helicopters should also be equipped with dual radio communication and navigation equipment so that there is no problem even if one set of equipment fails during a flight.
Pilots flying these helicopters should have at least 500 hours of flying experience, including experience of night flying. ‘It is desirable that the helicopter be flown by two pilots holding ‘Pilot In Command rating’ — the circular says.
As bad weather conditions often lead to problem in flying helicopters, pilots have been advised to study current weather reports and forecasts and also plan alternate courses of action in case flights cannot be completed due to bad weather.
The pilot should also ensure that the take off, descent path and approach path are free from any kind of obstacles.