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DGCA nod must for army pilots

New Delhi, Feb. 3 (PTI): Military pilots of civilian flights will have to get licences from the civil aviation regulator under an order that ends a set of exemptions they have enjoyed so far.

The order says such pilots and engineers must acquire the licences by July if they have been involved in operating civilian flights for over a year with army or air force papers.

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directive has been issued to all air operators, state-run or private, sources said today. The DGCA has warned that non-compliance will attract strict action, the sources added.

The order comes in the wake of probe reports on some accidents — including a 2011 chopper crash that killed former Arunachal chief minister Dorjee Khandu — that the pilot and the flight engineers were operating on the basis of exemptions under a provision, Rule 160, of the Aircraft Rules.

Rule 160 says “the central government may, by general or special order in writing, exempt any aircraft or class of aircraft or any person or class of persons from these rules, either wholly or partially”.

The professionals — several of whom died in the accidents — were qualified and had enough flying experience. But they didn’t possess the DGCA certification, which can be obtained only after tests on civilian aircraft.