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Boeing to train Indian pilots

Boeing will set up four flight simulators in India to train pilots to operate in adverse conditions and poor visibility like fog.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 13:13 IST

US aircraft major Boeing will set up four flight simulators in India to train pilots to operate in adverse conditions and poor visibility like fog which plays havoc with flight schedules in winters, particularly in the capital.

"We had talks with Boeing and they have agreed to set up four simulators in India in the near future," Civil Aviation Secretary Ajay Prasad said.

This will provide the Indian aviation industry substantial technical support to overcome flight delays during winter fogs.

"High-tech simulator trainings would equip pilots with better manoeuvre capabilities," Prasad said.

The aviation Industry in India has very few pilots conversant with the latest navigational equipment, which guide the aircraft for landings and take-offs in adverse weather conditions.

"Although we have provisions to operate even if visibility is around 50 metres, none of the private operators do so as their pilots are not trained," Prasad added.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport here is one of the few airports in the world to have Cat 3B instrument landing system (ILS), which facilitates landings and take-offs in poor visibility.

But only pilots of Indian Airlines (IA) know how to use Cat 3B.

"Even in IA, only 90 pilots out of a total strength of 550 can use Cat 3B to steer flights off the ground under poor visibility," Prasad said.

Besides the massive cost of Rs 1 million each for the rigorous training, companies are unable to spare pilots for training due to staff crunch.

The Boeing's Integrated Flight Systems Laboratory is one of the most modern engineering simulation facilities in the commercial transport industry.

The system can simulate diverse, realistic airplane environments, which pilots sitting in the cockpit may experience.

"It helps pilots to use latest facilities like navigational elements for VOR, ILS/GLS, night landings and guiding aircraft under unfavourable conditions using geo-positioning systems," a private airline pilot said, adding that the returns are promising.

The simulators are able to create a perfect environment by providing high fidelity visual scene generated and displayed by the latest in visual technology.

While the civil aviation ministry has asked private airlines to act fast with the training of pilots, the whole process is likely to take considerable time.

In a situation when the country is facing shortage of both flyers and pilots with advance training, the Boeing facility would be of help, the secretary observed.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 11:47 IST