DGCA gives clean chit to Redbird FTO after four months of being grounded | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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DGCA gives clean chit to Redbird FTO after four months of being grounded

Feb 21, 2024 07:24 PM IST

The DGCA had in October last year suspended operations at all of its bases across the country after two of Redbird’s aircraft crash-landed within four days

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday gave a clean chit to Redbird Flight Training Academy, one of the largest flight training organisations (FTO) in the country almost four months after its temporary shut-down due to maintenance issues.

The Redbird has five bases in India– Baramati, Seoni, Lilabari, Gulburga and Belagavi (Twitter)
The Redbird has five bases in India– Baramati, Seoni, Lilabari, Gulburga and Belagavi (Twitter)

“Redbird Flight Training got its resumption approval from DGCA to start operations at Baramati base. Now we are in the process of seeking approvals of other bases as well,” said Shelka Gupta, Head Drone Training & VP of New Business at Redbird.

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The academy on Tuesday confirmed that it was back in business and has resumed operation. “We, at Redbird Flight Training, feel immense pride in announcing a successful completion of the recertification process of our maintenance approval and resumption of our flying training operations,” the company said in a statement, posted on X.

The DGCA had in October last year suspended operations at all of its bases across the country after two of Redbird’s aircraft crash-landed within four days. Following the incidents, the DGCA ordered recertification after it found deficiencies in the FTO’s maintenance schedules and personnel training.

“The occurrences indicate gaps in maintenance and operational elements,” the DGCA had said.

The Redbird has five bases in India– Baramati, Seoni, Lilabari, Gulburga and Belagavi.

Redbird’s fleet includes Tecnam P- mentor, Cessna 172, Technam p2006t and Technam p2008JC. The FTO which has 35 aircraft in its fleet, commenced operations with two aircraft on Wednesday, Gupta said.

Meanwhile, the regulator banned the use of motor gasoline/petrol (known as Mogas in aviation) in training aircraft - used by institutes like Redbird - for better maintenance of engines.

About 20 Redbird’s aircraft will be impacted with this order, a Redbird official said.

In a letter dated February 12, the regulator stated that it has prohibited the use of Mogas for all Indian aircraft engines.

“Tecnam aircraft are approved for use of Mogas with up to 10% ethanol blending. However, the petrol available in India is blended with 12% ethanol which is known to lead to the degradation of engine parts, vapour locks in the engine and fuel pipes and was probably the cause of the frequent engine failures of Redbird’s aircraft,” one of the officials close to the matter claimed.

“While DGCA is technically adept and empowered to undertake an assessment of the airworthiness matters and issue a clean chit regarding those issues, the allegations regarding bribery and corruption definitely need a detailed enquiry by an authority with powers of policing and financial investigation, which neither DGCA nor MoCA [ministry of civil aviation] has,” a second official close to the matter said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    I am a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. I track the aviation and railways ministry. I also write on travel trends. I cover the beats at the national level for the newspaper. Before being in Delhi, I have worked as a journalist in Mumbai as well. My hobbies include trekking and travelling.

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