DGCA to probe 6 Indigo pilots for taking selfies mid-air

| Friday, July 15, 2016 - 13:38
First Published |
Indigo Airlines, Airlines, Selfie, pilots, DGCA, RTI, Right to Information, activist, Alok Narula, Raj Barot, Ahbas Gupta, Regulator

DGCA to probe 6 Indigo pilots for taking selfies

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)

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IndiGo Pilots taking Selfies in an Airborne Flight

The RTI application included three pictures of IndiGo airline pilots taking pictures of themselves with their family members, inside the cockpit of a grounded but powered up aircraft. Additionally, it contained two pictures (selfies) of themselves inside the cockpit of an airborne flight. FAA, EASA, and DGCA regulations prohibit flight crew from using any personal wireless communications device or laptop computer for personal use while at their duty station on the flight deck while the aircraft is being operated unless it is in accordance with approved operational procedures. This prohibition is intended to ensure that non-essential activities do not affect flight deck task management or cause a loss of situational awareness during aircraft operation. The prohibition includes any personal use by the flight crew of these devices, including, but not limited to, talking, texting, bidding for schedules, reading or accessing the Internet. In other words, all personal use is prohibited, whether or not the device is in airplane/offline mode. PEDs have been implicated in several mishaps and accidents all over the world since 2006. In August 2011, a Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter from Bethany, Missouri - Mosby, Missouri crashed because it didn't have enough fuel to complete its journey. Investigations found that the pilot was texting before starting the helicopter and during the flight. In August 2014, DGCA suspended the flight crew of Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Brussels when it learned that the flight plunged 5,000 feet over Turkey while its crew was engrossed in some non-essential activities on an IPad. Last year in May 2015, a Cessna 150 aircraft crashed near Watkins, Colorado because the pilot had been taking pictures of himself and his passengers, with a flash.

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