Allaying apprehensions that a "huge number" of fake pilots were flying planes in the country, Civil Aviation Ministry today said such reports were "far from the truth" and there was was no need to panic as only 13 such cases have been detected so far after a thorough scrutiny.
"In respect of airline transport pilot licenses (ATPL), almost all licences have already been examined and found to be genuine, except in respect of the six (cases of forgery) detected," an official statement said, maintaining that 13 FIRs have so far been lodged after scrutiny of licenses.
"The DGCA has commenced examination of all Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) records issued during the past and till date, seven cases of submission of forged result cards have been detected.
FIRs have been lodged with Crime Branch of Delhi Police in respect of all 13 cases (6 ATPLs and 7 CPLs)". While there are about 4,000 ATPLs, about 10,000 CPLs have been issued till date. "These facts are made known to the public in order to ensure that there is no panic as a result of media reports hinting at huge numbers of fake pilots flying civilian aircraft in the country.
This is far from the truth," the statement said. On complaints regarding certain flying schools, it said three special audit teams, comprising officers of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and outside experts, would "conduct detailed audit of these schools to detect malpractices, if any."
Procedures to cross-verify documents has been introduced to ensure that the Directorate of Examination and the Directorate of Licencing of DGCA "work in close collaboration", it said, adding that steps have been taken to make the examination system foolproof by having "multi layer security" and computerisation.
It also spoke about "strongest possible action" having been initiated against those who have resorted to unfair methods. The official statement came amid a spate of reports relating to aviation safety issues, like arrest of 13 persons including three DGCA staffers, forged documents being used to obtain pilots licenses, some flying schools allegedly fudging flying hours and instances of "blind landings."