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AI pilots say training facilities 'pathetic’

Pilots of Air India — the official carrier for the Commonwealth Games — have raised serious doubts about the airline’s flight safety.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2010 03:45 IST

Pilots of Air India — the official carrier for the Commonwealth Games — have raised serious doubts about the airline’s flight safety.

The 700-member strong ICPA (Indian Commercial Pilots Association) — the biggest AI pilot association — has written to the management complaining about the “pathetic state” of training facilities at the airline’s Central Training Esta-blishment (CTE), Hyderabad.

Sent on September 13, the confidential ICPA mail points out that “more than half of the 522 fatalities in airline accidents in the US since 2000 have been linked to problems with simulators”. Simulators are replicas of aircraft cockpits that trainee pilots use to practice on while on the ground.

The association has said the Airbus A320 simulators at the training centre were more than two decades old.

While “in other airlines the simulators are maintained in a ‘top-class’ condition”, says the pilots’ mail, the ones in the CTE are “in a pathetic state”.

Trainee pilots, the ICPA said, were unable to get a feel of more than half of the emergency situations that can arise while flying an aircraft “as the state of simulators does not permit their simulation”.

“There is absolutely no basis for the allegations. We categorically deny that the level of fidelity has drastically come down. All mandatory training and refresher courses are done as per DGCA norms,” AI said in an email response to HT.