Friday, January 20, 2017

Pilot tells engineer plane 'chadha doonga', grounded

NEW DELHI: Intimidating phrases like "thok doonga" or "maar doonga" (Will hit you) may be common in our everyday lives but an Air India pilot was recently grounded after he threatened the ground engineer with "plane chadha doonga" (Will run you down with the plane) unless he cleared the aircraft for take off soon.

This unprecedented exchange took place late last year in Mumbai when the captain was in the cockpit and waiting for ground engineers to complete their pre-flight checks so that the Airbus A-320 could begin taxiing and take-off for Bengaluru.

"The captain was in a hurry to take-off for some reason and said those words to the ground engineer. The engineers immediately completed their checks and removed chocks - wooden blocks kept in front and rear of tires - after which the plane is towed back and then taxi to the runway for take off," said a source.

The engineers were most upset as this threat had come just months after they lost a colleague in Mumbai near that very bay after he was sucked into an aircraft engine.

As soon as the plane took off, the engineers lodged a formal complaint about the pilot's behavior with their own and AI's flight safety department (FSD). The moment the plane landed in Bengaluru, the FSD ordered that the content of the cockpit voice recorder be downloaded.

"This exchange took place a few months back. We went through the recording and took a very serious note of that threat, irrespective of whether it was made in jest or anger. The pilot was taken off flying duties for about a month. During that time he was made to undergo counselling that included anger management," said a senior AI official.

"We went through the record of the pilot. He was neither found to be a habitual offender nor someone who had similar complaints in the past. He may have even said it in jest but we took a serious note of that. After the counselling was over and due to his past record, he is back flying," said the official.

However, following this episode the FSD has told AI crew members not to come under stress as they are under tremendous pressure to improve the airline's poor on time performance (OTP) record.

AI domestic flights are among the least punctual ones, according to the data given out by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) every month. The aviation ministry seeks a daily report from AI and the airline has to explain every delayed departure.

"The pilots and other crew members are therefore under tremendous pressure to fly on time. But FSD has issued an advisory to them not to operate under stress and fly with a cool head," said a senior official. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.