MP Flying Club mired in controversies
While Wednesday’s plane crash at Indore airport resulted in death of a pilot, another Cessna aircraft had crash landed near Indore airport last year but the pilots had escaped with minor injuries.indore Updated: Nov 20, 2014 15:36 IST
Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, which was established in 1951, has often been in news for the wrong reasons. While Wednesday’s plane crash at Indore airport resulted in death of a pilot, another Cessna aircraft had crash landed near Indore airport last year but the pilots had escaped with minor injuries.
In June 2013, a Cessna 152 twin-seater aircraft of the flying club crash landed in the field outside the airport after its engine failed. Fortunately, both the pilots escaped with minor injuries as the field was soggy. “The report of the DGCA probe that was ordered after the mishap is yet to be submitted,” MP Flying Club chief flight instructor Capt Mandar Mahajan told HT.
Interestingly, the aircraft that crashed on Wednesday is also a twin-seater Cessna 152. “The fact that the aircraft has a single engine increases the risk, but the plane is used in other flying clubs across India although it has been discontinued in several other countries,” an official of the flying club said.
The club was also mired in controversy in 2012 when flight operations were suspended at Indore airport for non-payment of hangar charges and at Bhopal for not having a chief flying instructor.
Another issue that had led to the flight operations coming to halt for several months at Bhopal was resignation of chief flying instructor Capt. Majid Akhtar. The CFI had resigned following allegations as to how he could instruct pilots as he himself had failed the re-current training programme conducted in the US.
The club was also in news when annual grant of `10 lakh from the State government was stopped in 2001. This was resumed at Rs 2 lakh per year in 2010. This resumption of the grant coincided with the admission of a former chief secretary’s son to the club at a concessional rate.
In 2012, the income tax department declined MP Flying Club’s contention that it should be exempted from paying taxes on the ground that it is an educational institution and its activities are charitable. The income tax department declared that the flying club was a commercial organisation which is as good as coaching class that charges students for giving training for flying.
The flying club imparts flying training to students wanting to obtain commercial pilot license and private pilot license. Headquartered in Indore, the club has a fleet of nine aircraft.