Several discrepancies in the records of the 82-year-old Bombay Flying Club (BFC) has made the aviation regulator shut down its pilot training programme temporarily.
The oldest flying club in the country has overstated fuel stock, records showing that aircraft were grounded but were actually in use and several other issues. The regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), discovered these violations during a special audit conducted on the club in Juhu last month.
As a result, the aviation safety regulator ordered BFC to stop its pilot training programme on Wednesday. The club, founded by JRD Tata in 1929, had also failed to get approval for its annual training licence from the DGCA, which expired in July.
“The log entries of aircraft usage, fuel usage and flying did not match with what we saw on ground,” said a senior DGCA official. “After receiving the regulator’s show-cause notice, the club staff tried to manipulate log book entries. They did not realise that we had taken photo copies of the log books during our audit.”
Flying club officials blamed two of their engineers for flaws in the documents and sacked them after the DGCA crackdown. “We have sent the action taken report to the DGCA. We will soon apply for renewal of licence to resume training,” said BL Bijlani, secretary, BFC.
Currently, 28 students are perusing pilot training at the club. A financial crunch had forced the club to shift its pilot training operations to a borrowed airstrip in Dhule a few years ago.
“Gaps in documentary evidence could lead to safety lapses. For instance, exaggerated fuel stock could be shown as evidence for increased flying hours,” added the DGCA official. The regulator has been conducting special surprise checks on flying schools following the fake pilot scam that was unearthed last year. The BFC was first among the country’s 40 flying schools under the scanner.