The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has constituted three teams to conduct full-fledged audits of 40 flying schools across the country from next week.
The crackdown by the civil aviation regulator comes in the wake of reports of pilots’ training schools fudging their logbook entries to help candidates procure their licences.
The teams of officials and independent experts would begin inspection of flying schools from April 18 and submit their reports within three months, official sources said here.
The sources said that authenticity of records submitted by the pilots who have got their training in flying from foreign institutions would also be scrutinised.
So far, 13 persons, including five pilots and three DGCA staffers, have been arrested by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on charges of using forged marksheets, fudged flying hours and related documents to procure flying licenses from the DGCA. A Chief Training officer of a Rajasthan flying club was earlier arrested for fudging the log books of some pilots.
During their audit drive, the DGCA teams will verify the logged flying hours with the log books of air traffic controllers, where the flying had taken place in controlled environment. They will also check the consumption of aviation fuel by the flying schools and their fuel bills to see if they match the flying hours clocked by their students.
DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan, who briefed the three teams of officials and experts, has favoured a complete revamp of the pilot licencing process. Last week, he held a meeting of officials of all flying schools to put together an action plan to tackle the problem of fudging of documents to obtain licences.
The DGCA has decided to computerise the entire process of examination and documentation of the entire pilot licencing process.
On foreign flying schools, Mr. Bhushan said the DGCA has decided not to take the licences issued by them on face value and refer back to these institutes and local aviation regulatory authorities to authenticate the certification, flying hours and other documentation of a foreign licence
There are about 4,500 pilots working in India of which 1,500 are commanders and 500 are expats. While a candidate needs to fly 200 hours to become eligible for a commercial pilot licence (CPL), some flying schools barely clock a few hours and allegedly fudge the logbook entry for the required number of hours.