Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Flying Training school is grounded

One of the country’s oldest flying institutes, Government Flying Training School (GFTS) in Jakkur, no longer has a Flight Training Organisation (FTO) licence. The FTO licence, approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is required for a flying school to train rookie pilots who want to acquire Commercial Pilot licences.

But this does not come as a surprise. The GFTS has had a turbulent last few years. The licence of GFTS’s FTO had lapsed in December and has still not been renewed, officials from the flying school told Bangalore Mirror. In order to renew the FTO, the regulatory authorities would have to do an audit by inspecting the facilities, faculty, syllabus, safety precautions etc. “If the GFTS authorities do want to renew the FTO licence, then they would have to meet the primary requirement of having a chief flying instructor. There has been no chief flying instructor for some time now and the process is still on to hire one,” officials added.

GFTS was founded in 1948. The then Maharaja of Mysore granted land in Jakkur to set up the flight school on the assurance that it would be used only for aviation-related activities. The heritage flying institute was inaugurated by India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and is spread over 214 acres.

With many infrastructure projects coming up in the periphery of the flying school and the absence of flying instructors has over the years curtailed flying activity in the school.

The last chief flying officer had left the school over a year ago and that post has since been vacant. Besides there are other vacancies as well and the ongoing infrastructure work outside the school boundary is also not conducive to flight training. 

“The runway is unsafe for trainee flight operations due to the movement of heavy machinery within the active airside and wall construction at the threshold, dangerously reducing the available runway length for training,” said a pilot.

GFTS had been embroiled in various controversies in the last decade, which led to its closure for a few years.
09/02/21 Hemanth CS/Bangalore Mirror

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