Thursday, March 27, 2014

Directorate General of Civil Aviation asks Air India captain to prove he passed Class 12 or lose license

NEW DELHI: A senior commander of Air India (domestic) has got a month to prove that he actually completed schooling — successfully — or else lose his flying license forever. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday gave him a month to confirm beyond doubt that the Class 12 certificate he gave to qualify for a commercial pilot license (CPL) was genuine.

"If he fails to do that, the DGCA will cancel his CPL. The basic requirement of a CPL is passing Class 12 with physics and maths, apart from scoring at least 70% in English. So if someone fraudulently manages to get a CPL without meeting the minimum qualification criteria, the license is invalid," said an official.

The commander flies Airbus A-320 aircraft. AI has decided not to ground him as it can't act against him till proven guilty.

The pilot's trouble started when his sister complained to the DGCA and AI that her brother had given a fake certificate to become a pilot. "This person's entire family is of pilots. His father retired from AI and his two siblings (not the one who complained) are also pilots. The fight in the family is possibly due to some property dispute which led to the sister complaining against her real brother," said sources.

The latest controversy has revived memories of the fake pilot issue that scared flyers about five years back. At that time, it was discovered that a number of pilots had given false documents to get their CPLs. Worse, some had even fudged flying training records to get this coveted license.

The DGCA had then launched a massive cleanup operation to weed out unqualified pilots and cracked down on some flying schools who would give false flying hours to trainees for a fee — without actual flying.

DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar is learnt to have ordered a thorough check of all flying schools in India. "We hope to complete this exercise at the earliest," said an official.

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