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Pilot licences under scanner

delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2011 15:04 IST

Aviation regulator DGCA plans to bring under the scanner over 10,000 commercial pilot license (CPL) holders and conduct third-party audit of all flying schools in the country in the wake of cases of forgery behind securing of licences coming to light.

As the forgery cases have given rise to fears that travellers' life is being endangered by incompetent pilots, the regulator is planning a slew of steps to check the malaise.

Apart from this, the regulator is also worried about the problems faced by a large number of Indian youths, who go abroad for training and return with fake or invalid licenses, after spending lakhs of rupees.

Besides the six cases of pilots using forged documents to get their licenses, "we have got some more suspicious cases, but there is nothing confirmed as yet and investigations are going on," DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan told PTI here.

The six cases of forged documents that have come to light are two each from air carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet and one each from Air India and MDLR.

While all the 4,000-odd holders of Airline Transport Pilot Licenses (ATPLs) are currently being probed, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is "considering looking into all the CPLs", he said. There are over 10,000 CPL holders in the country.

In a bid to combat fudging of records, the DGCA is determined to have an online option for students, beginning with "at least in some (examination) centres, by July," the Director General said, adding, "We are working with the National Informatics Centre on this project" that should be in place soon.

Asked whether flying training schools were following stringent standards laid down by the regulator, Bhushan said: "There have been cases ... there is suspicion that at least some of the flying hours that they are logging in the student's log books, are not genuine".

He also indicated that problems relating to training infrastructure have also been found.

These training academies provide flight training and issue CPLs to the successful students. A separate set of aviation regulations or Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) have also been framed for such institutions.

"I want to examine the condition and quality of training they are giving. We have to ensure that the conditions and quality of training are maintained. My intention is to have a team from outside, a third-party systematic audit of these schools," Bhushan said.

There are about 40 flying schools in India.

Under the CAR, a flying school gets a license which is valid for a year. It is renewed after a DGCA inspection and "on satisfying that the institutes maintain their required capability. The inspection is carried out as per the standardised check-list", the DGCA chief said.