Pilots of Rajnath Singh's take-off in darkness grounded | india | Hindustan Times
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Pilots of Rajnath Singh's take-off in darkness grounded

india Updated: Nov 24, 2009 21:07 IST

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Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday said the two pilots of the chartered plane that took off with BJP president Rajnath Singh from Jharkhand's Dumka airstrip in darkness last month, were reprimanded and grounded for 15 days.

"Investigation revealed that the aircraft took off after sunset, in violation of safety guidelines and Visual Flight Rules. Based on the investigation, both pilots were grounded for 15 days and were given a warning," Patel said in a written reply during the question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's chartered plane had taken off in darkness with jeeps' headlights providing runway lighting Oct 19 from Dumka.

Patel said the Dumka airstrip was an unregulated facility and investigations had revealed that though vehicles' lights were on at the time of the take-off, they were not used for lighting runway for departure of the aircraft.

Patel also appealed to VIPs not to pressurise pilots to operate in difficult conditions.