Bengaluru: An inquiry has been ordered by The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) against six IndiGo Airlines pilots for taking selfies in a cockpit when airborne and on the runways, an RTI activist said on Thursday.
 
“This is a serious violation. We are collecting more evidence and suitable action will be taken soon. We have told the airline management to discourage such activities,” Bengaluru-based activist Alok Narula said quoting from the regulator’s reply to his RTI query on June 2. Narula, an independent software developer, is a frequent flier from Bengaluru.
 
A disciplinary action will be taken against the pilots and the airline if its inquiry finds them guilty of misconduct, the Regulator assured RTI activist Narula.
 
The pilots who had taken the selfies were Captain Deepak Hooda and first officers Vaibhav Rathore, Satish B Iyer, Nipinder Jit Khokhar, Raj Barot and Ahbas Gupta.
 
“The regulator has warned the pilots against taking selfies in mid-air, risking lives of passengers,” he said quoting from the DGCA’s reply to him.
 
“The selfies, taken from personal digital cameras mounted on a pedestal in the cockpit when airborne, were posted in the Facebook accounts of the pilots,” Narula told reporters here. 
 
According to regulators across the world, Digital cameras are classified as the portable wireless electronic devices (PEDs) category and its use is prohibited during all stages of flight till 2014. Also as per FAA and EASA regulations, PEDs such as digital cameras, cell phones and music players are prohibited in the cockpit/flight deck in the US and Europe since April 2014.
 
“In 2014, regulators relaxed the No PED policy for airline passengers but tightened it for flight crew, as investigations into air mishaps in the US and elsewhere found that non-operational use of PEDs diverts attention (of pilots) from activities necessary for safe operations,” the statement said.
 
In India, though DGCA guidelines, the usage of all PEDs are prohibited except iPad since July 2014. But it appears that the IndiGo pilots did not heed these regulations.
 
(With inputs from IANS)