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Ajit scan on pilot tests

New Delhi, Nov. 23: Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh has asked the regulator to take steps to address growing complaints of favouritism in pilots’ proficiency exams and on-duty checks, including a forum to file review applications and appeals against results.

The order to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) followed a review of the current examination system. “The decision was taken in view of the large number of complaints of favouritism and harassment against the examiners,” a government spokesperson said.

Singh has asked the DGCA to standardise the system in a manner that minimises the discretion available to the examiners, the official added.

The regulator has been told to incorporate the changes in aviation rules or civil aviation requirements (CAR), which list the criteria pilots must meet to be inducted as examiners, instructors or “check pilots” for scheduled commercial flights.

The examiners work on behalf of the DGCA and conduct skill tests on planes as well as simulators to certify commanders and co-pilots.

“The establishment of such a (institutional) mechanism would address the grievances of candidates and provide much-needed motivation to junior pilots to perform better,” the spokesperson said.

Ministry sources said the changes could be made part of the proposed Civil Aviation Authority, which will replace the DGCA as the regulator.

“The complaints by pilots are genuine and need to be addressed by the aviation regulator on a routine basis by giving them utmost priority. We are planning to have a separate sub-department and assign officials to look into these issues,” said a senior ministry official.

The planned authority will enjoy administrative and financial freedom.