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Lens on Jet training after flight scare

SHOCKING LAPSE

New Delhi, Aug. 14: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to do a complete audit of the training procedure of the pilots of Jet Airways for the past one year.

The move follows an alarming incident in which a Jet Airways flight plunged 5,000 feet in foreign airspace, while the commander was asleep and co-pilot busy on her iPad.

Swinging into action after receiving an anonymous complaint, the DGCA constituted a three-member team. It comprises officials from its airworthiness, air safety and flight operations wings who will audit the airline’s training procedures. The regulator has already suspended the two pilots involved in the incident.

The team will also look into the carrier’s training policies, including its definition of “controlled rest” for pilots, sources said, adding that inspections will also be carried out of its training facilities.

Controlled rest is allowed for maximum 40 minutes. Sleeping for longer is not permitted because of the increased risk of sleep inertia and resulting grogginess.

The regulator will also probe the reason behind the failure of the airline or the pilots to report the incident. The DGCA got to know about it from an anonymous source. “While both the pilots kept flying until they were grounded two days back, they did not even file a flight safety report, which is a mandatory exercise to document any untoward incident during the course of a flight,” officials said.

Sources said DGCA’s joint director-general Lalit Gupta, who is in charge of air safety, received an anonymous text message about the uncontrolled descent on Tuesday.

The government has suspended the licences of the two pilots. “Enquiry is going on, so we’ll await the report. But these things should not happen. The pilots’ licences have been suspended. Actions will be taken according to law,” said civil aviation minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju.

The DGCA has also directed the airline to submit all related reports and the records of the digital flight data recorder within this week.

 
 
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