In new order, DGCA allows off-duty pilot to travel in cockpit
In a major relief to the pilot community, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed them to travel in the cockpit even if they are not on duty.
On July 13, an off-duty Air India pilot who tried to fly to Bengaluru as an additional crew member because the plane was full was grounded after he failed the breath analyser test for alcohol. Following this, DGCA had barred pilots to travel in the cockpit if they are not on duty.
The pilot community had opposed the move as the airline’s manual allows pilots to travel in the cockpit as an additional crew as they might have to join duty from the next station.
DGCA, in an order issued on Tuesday, has said that for the safety of aircraft operations, no person is allowed to enter the cockpit and occupy the jump seat. The regulator, however, has given some exemptions.
“Any flight crew member of the aircraft operator, who has been authorized by the aircraft operator, and has the permission of PIC (pilot in command), whose presence in the cockpit shall be beneficial to the overall safety of operations,” DGCA said in the order while exempting the additional pilot from the rule.
The DGCA has made it clear that the additional pilot, who chooses to travel in the cockpit, will have to undergo a breath analyser test as well.
“This was an industry need. But they have to undergo BA and suffer the same consequence as the one on duty if they fail,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar said.
Others, who can enter the cockpit, are officials from the civil aviation ministry for inspection, officials of the airline with permission from the DGCA, representatives from aircraft manufacturer and any other person authorized by the DGCA.
According to the rules, a crew member who tests positive for the breath analyser test is grounded for three months in case of violation for the first time and three years for the second violation. The third violation leads to cancellation of the flying licence of the crew member.