Saturday, August 10, 2019

Crisis in cockpit: Captains deny juniors landing opportunities

Chennai: ‘My controls’, announced the captain of an A320 plane that was approaching Chennai airport and took over control of the plane from the first officer. The reason: air traffic control had alloted a short, second runway for landing. Windshear, concave surface and inadequate length make it tough to land on the second runway.
Though this may not be happening all the time, similar scenes in which first officers are deprived of a chance to operate flights are increasingly playing out in cockpits these days.

As DGCA has started to take stringent action against pilots and airlines have started to penalise pilots for slightest of a rough touchdown, senior pilots have started to play safe. And the victims are first officers.

As per practice, captains allow first officers to control the plane during landing so that they will have sufficient experience in handling the aircraft by the time they get promoted after clocking around 1,000 hours.

Lack of clocking enough number of landings may delay promotion of a first officer to a captain unless it is compensated by working on simulators.

A pilot said, “A pilot is made answerable if there is a rough landing even if it is safe. So, many want to avoid filing reports and respond to mails from the safety department. Instead, they will take over the controls if there is a hint that the landing is going to be difficult.” Pilots report a hard-landing if it crosses the fixed threshold because it can harm the plane.

“But, these days passengers too have become sensitive. They tweet or shoot a mail even if there was only a mild jolt which may be safe for the plane but must have inconvenienced the passengers. But, pilots are pulled up for these complaints too,” said the pilot.
10/08/19 V Ayyappan/Times of India

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