India’s aviation regulator wants 30 per cent of pilots flying should be of the rank of training captains, in order to increase trainer-pilot ratio. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a circular last week regarding this.
This means that if 10 pilots of an airline operate Boeing 747-800 fleet, about three should be training to be captains.
Of these, half of the training captains should be check pilots (who accompany a junior pilot in the cockpit to test their skills) and the rest should be examiners who conduct ground training. The initiative will help to conduct more safety checks on pilot skills.
“The move will ensure better scrutiny on pilot skills in all types of aircraft,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
The DGCA has been under fire from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation regulator, for gaps in safety checks on pilots because it is short staffed in testing pilot skills.
The move also come to enhance air safety a week after 158 people died in an Air India Express flight that crashed in Mangalore.
“There have been cases where airlines have failed to conduct regular flight checks on pilots,” added the DGCA official.
Last month, the regulator advised airlines not to roster a pilot in more than one type of aircraft in a 10-hour shift because its safety team found that pilots struggle to adjust in different cockpits in the same duty shift.