The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set up three teams to examine 40 flying schools across the country from April 18.

The move comes amid reports of pilot training schools fudging their logbook entries to help candidates get licences.

The teams would submit reports within three months. The authenticity of records submitted by those who underwent training in foreign institutions would also be scrutinised, official sources here said.

Thirteen persons, including five pilots and three DGCA personnel, have so far been arrested by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police on the charge of using forged mark sheets and fudging flying hours to get licences. A chief training officer of a Rajasthan flying club was earlier arrested for fudging the logbooks of some pilots.

The audit teams will verify the flying hours entered in the logbooks of air traffic controllers. They will check the quantum of aviation fuel used by the flying schools and their fuel bills to find out whether they match the flying hours logged by the students.

DGCA chief E.K. Bharat Bhushan, who briefed the teams, has favoured a complete revamp of the licensing process. Last week, he met officials of all flying schools to put together a plan to tackle document-fudging.

The DGCA has decided to computerise the process of examination and documentation of the licensing process.

Mr. Bhushan said the DGCA decided not to take the licences issued by foreign flying schools at face value; it would ask them and the local regulators to authenticate the certification, flying hours and other documentation of a foreign licence-holder.

There are 4,500 pilots working in India, 1,500 of them commanders and 500 expatriates.

While a candidate needs to fly 200 hours to become eligible for a commercial pilot licence, some schools barely clock a few hours and fudge the logbook entry to cover the required number of hours.

Three more pilots under scanner

Staff Reporter writes:

Meanwhile, the DGCA has forwarded the names of three more pilots to the Delhi Police, suspecting that they might have got licences through forged mark sheets.

“We have received the names of three more pilots who are suspected to have procured commercial pilot licences through forged mark sheets. We are making efforts to arrest them,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ashok Chand said. However, he refused to reveal their identity.

On March 8, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police made the first arrest: Captain Parminder Kaur (38) was held after an inquiry by the DGCA into an incident of “hard landing” of an airline revealed the fraud. Investigations revealed that Ms. Kaur had failed in the air navigation paper and did not take the radio aids and instruments paper, but submitted a forged result card to the DGCA on November 11, 2009 and obtained the licence. In less than a week, the police arrested Air India co-pilot J.K. Verma on similar charges.

On March 26, four more persons, including a DGCA official and a pilot, were arrested for allegedly being part of a racket of arranging licences through forged documents. The DGCA official told the police that he had allegedly cleared 60 such files of applicants in the past three years. On April 4, the police arrested a pilot and a flight supervisor. Two days later, two more DGCA employees were arrested.

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