Aviation regulator DGCA has stopped operations of two flying training schools in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra due to serious safety concerns.
Two flight schools – Chimes Aviation Academy in Madhya Pradesh and SVKM NMIMS Academy of Aviation in Maharashtra – have been asked to pause all operations until the issues found can be fixed.
Chimes Aviation Academy has a tie-up with India’s largest airline, IndiGo, to provide junior-level pilots at the airline. A source at Chimes said that the school has decided to do the maintenance work on the airstrip itself as the process by the state government will take a lot of time. The facility is expected to be ready for flying in three weeks.
At the SVKM NMIMS Academy of Aviation, three aircraft with faulty fuel gauge indicators were found. The regulator stated that flying here has also been stopped for three weeks and that the school will be allowed to operate only when things are in order.
“In one case, it has been stopped till such time the runway is suitable for flying operations. During the inspection, it was observed that it had loose gravel and uneven surface and was unsafe for flying,” said the statement by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
In the second case, it was observed that three aircraft of a flying school had dysfunctional fuel gauge indicators and they were still being operated, it said.
“The flying operations at this school (the second case) have been stopped for three weeks. It will be allowed to operate only when things are in order,” the regulator noted. The DGCA said it has stopped “flying operations” at these two schools, due to the aforementioned “serious safety concerns”.
The regulator’s statement did not mention the names of the two training schools. The DGCA had said it has audited 30 out of the total 32 flying training organisations (FTOs) in India since March 21 and found them violating multiple safety regulations.
The regulator had found in the audit that “the facilities at the airfield/training organization are not being maintained as per the requirements runway surface was found worn out, wind sock was found torn or nonstandard.” The pre-flight alcohol test regulations were not followed at multiple FTOs, the audit had found.
“Few of the instructors, student pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers did not undergo BA (breathalyser) test or submit undertaking before the commencement of duty/exercise of privileges,” the audit had stated.
The regulator earlier issued warning letters to two managers and suspended two chief flying instructors and one deputy chief flying instructor for a year. Two other chief flying instructors, two deputy chief flying instructors, one assistant flying instructor and a student were suspended for three months.
Students are not trained properly on emergencies before being released for solo or cross-country flights. Trainers are changed frequently: a practice that affects the learning of students. It also found that facilities at the airfield/training organization are also not being maintained as per requirements.
The regulator also found cases of “false logging”. “In some cases, the dual flight has been logged as solo flight and in few other cases the taxi time was calculated towards the instrument flying time of the student pilot.”