New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended five pilots Wednesday for separate instances dating back to March. While two of the pilots are employed with the state-run Pawan Hans helicopter service company, the other three work with the private budget carrier, IndiGo.
According to the suspension order issued by by civil aviation regulator, the Pawan Hans pilots did not deploy the landing gear during a flight to Guwahati on 24 July. As a result, the belly of the Dauphin SA356 N3 helicopter touched the runway, causing damage to the aircraft.
The helicopter was under the command of Captain Bhanu Johri and Captain Nikhilesh Bharat Gupta, and both have been suspended for three months.
“Capt Bhanu Johri and Captain Nikhilesh Bharat Gupta failed to monitor and ensure that the landing gear was lowered for landing, thereby compromising the safety of the aircraft and its occupants,” the DGCA order said.
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Spurt in pilot suspensions
The three IndiGo pilots were held guilty of not reporting vibrations in the controversial Pratt and Whitney engines of the Airbus A320neo aircraft in separate incidents since March. Indian carriers that inducted Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320neo planes three years ago have been facing mid-air glitches since day one, even leading some aircraft to be grounded.
While Captain Krishna Arjun Reddy and Captain Sanjay Gupta have been suspended for six months owing to their failure to report the vibrations, Captain Pankul Nag faces three months off duty.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar told ThePrint Wednesday that more than 40 pilots had been suspended between January and August for their involvement in accidents/serious air accidents, as compared to 12 last year.
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