Government orders probe in all pilot licences

New Delhi: Concerned over instances of use of forged documents to get pilot`s licences, the government on Tuesday said it has directed investigations into all licences issued in the past and set up an experts committee to look into the current examination system.

"I have directed the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to examine all the licences issued in the past and to establish a procedure for more detailed verification while issuing such licences," Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said in Rajya Sabha.

Expressing concern over the arrest of Capt Parminder Kaur Gulati of IndiGo airline and subsequent detection of three more such cases, he said the government also proposed to set up an experts committee under his Ministry to look into various aspects of the prevailing examination system.

"I propose to set up an expert committee in the Ministry to examine the current examination system, need for introduction of e-technology, new procedures and process and effective system of cross-verification of documents filed by candidates for various licenses in DGCA", Ravi said.

Till date, about 4,500 Airline Transport Pilot Licences (ATPLs) have been issued by the DGCA.

The DGCA, while examining the ATPL issued during the past one year, detected that Capt Swaran Singh Talwar (MDLR Airlines), Capt Meenakshi Singhal (IndiGo) and Capt J K Verma (Air India) submitted forged Result Cards with DGCA to obtain ATPLs.

FIRs have been lodged in all these cases, Ravi said.

The cases of forged documents came to light when Capt Gulati landed an aircraft on its nose-wheel, instead of the rear wheels. During the enquiry into the incident, it was found that there had been other instances in the past of her "exhibiting similar deficiencies in landing techniques."

Later it was found that Gulati had not passed the pilot examination and fraudulently obtained the licence.

Subsequently, the case was handed over to the police, Ravi said.

The DGCA, the Minister said, conduct written tests for pilot licences eight times throughout the year and a candidate is required to pass all the papers, besides acquiring the minimum necessary flying hours, to obtain a Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) or ATPL.

For an ATPL, a candidate is also required to pass written and oral exams in air navigation, aviation meteorology, radio aids and instruments and acquire a minimum 1500 flying hours.

The Central Examination Organisation of DGCA conducts these examinations.