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Fake pilots could be flying our aircraft
New Delhi, MAR 10 (AGENCIES):
Published on 11 Mar. 2011 12:54 AM IST
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Pilots with fake and forged licences could be flying commercial aircraft in India. A CNN-IBN investigation has found that at least 10 pilots have bribed their way through rigorous aviation tests to become commanders in some of the top airlines in India.
The case of Indigo pilot Parminder Kaur Gulati, who was arrested on Wednesday by Delhi Police for obtaining a pilot’s license on alleged forged documents, is just the tip of an iceberg. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is now investigating over 1700 pilots who may have paid their way to pass the test to command a flight
The Airlines Transport Pilot Licence (ALTP) is every pilot’s dream. The ALTP makes the person the pilot-in-command and also doubles the salary.
But getting the licence is not easy. The pilot has to log over 1500 flying hours and pass three tests in Air Navigation, Radio Aids and Instruments and Aviation Meteorology. They also face an interview.
Such is the rush that many pilots are willing to pay for it. The arrest of Parminder has now opened a can of worms. CNN-IBN has spoken to many pilots to reveal the shocking story of some of the pilots who could be flying you around have fake licences
Four senior pilots of Air India, Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Indigo admitted that the rates were upwards of Rs 7 lakh to pass the commander test and could go upto Rs 25 lakh. The deals are brokered by touts.
In January 2011 a pilot with one of India’s leading airlines failed in his first solo test, delaying the aircraft by over two hours. Later he admitted to his senior that he had paid through his test. Another instructor had a mid-air scare when the pilot he was evaluating admitted that he had never logged the flying hours he had filed.
Top sources in the DGCA admit to the rot in the system and are working to identify corrupt officials. Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi assured of strict action if any pilot was found to have fake licence.
“If any corruption complain comes to me, I know what to do with that. Nothing has come to me so far. But that does not mean that every thing is alright,” said Ravi. Following Parminder’s case the DGCA has put all 1700 new licences under scrutiny. Sources say they have zeroed in on over 10 suspicious cases from various airlines.
There is now fear of a similar scam involving Commercial Pilot Licence holders. DGCA sources say they have received a number of complaints.

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