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Showing posts with the label Aviation

Civil flights stuck in the 5G web, a difficult choice

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      The recent USA regulatory circular on the affect of 5G network on flight operations has thrown the aircraft makers in a tizzy. The 5G network which has been rolled out in various parts of the world has subscribers drooling with the promise of blazing internet speeds which could download a movie in 5 seconds.  The 5G network affects the operations of the radio altimeter of the aircraft which could interfere with various systems like the automatic landing, Ground Proximity Warning Systems, Displays etc. The two big aircraft makers have approached the FAA to help mitigate the risk by delaying the launch of the 5G network in the USA. The question which arises is, what about the rest of the world where 5G has already been deployed and aircraft flying in and out daily? Well yes, the airline industry would loose billions as the flight operations would get impacted especially in poor visibility conditions. However, there doesn't seem to be any concern towards possible lives being los

Multi-Crew Pilot License, India needs better preparedness to adopt the change

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  The Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) was adopted by ICAO in 2006 with an amendment in the ICAO Annex-1. India has still not implemented the change. India has been following the traditional prescriptive training methodology with very few changes over the year. The idiom “ Don’t fix it until it breaks ” fits well in the Indian context. There is however a need to rationalize training curriculum since it has been overloaded with additional training requirement post a major accident or an ICAO mandate. There are lobbies which have been pushing for the introduction of MPL in India in partnership with a few airlines. The airlines unknowingly are falling for the bait that they have been traditionally been doing since eternity. India has always been seen as a milking cow by the west and the sheer numbers in terms of training hours requirement seems like a lucrative business to anyone. The question here is,   is India prepared to launch and support a new training and licensing methodology? The c

Aviation ministry sits on INR1450 Cr in the backdrop of unpaid salaries & COVID crisis

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  Un-utilised funds COVID19 crisis has crippled the aviation sector which has witnessed salary cuts and job losses to stay afloat. In this time of crisis the civil aviation ministry has managed to overlook utilization of budgetary allocation of a staggering INR1450 Cr FY 2020-21.  This has been recorded in the report of the Parliamentary committee on transport tabled  in March 2021. The report in para 8.1 states the following "The Committee is distressed to note that the Ministry has been able to spend only 64.9% of the enhanced RE allocation of ₹4131.63 crores, which means that the Ministry has to spend ₹1450.78 crore in the remaining two months of the Financial Year 2020-21 .  The Committee apprehends significant underutilization of the budgetary funds available with the Ministry. At a time when the Government was facing major financial troubles on account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry received a considerable boost of 8.8% at RE 2020-21 , as compared to BE 2020-21. 

First autonomous cargo flight, gate to gate

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The future of aviation is going to change soon with drones and now autonomous aircraft making its debut after the demonstration flight. Xwing, a USA based company has completed its first gate-to-gate autonomous demonstration flight of a commercial cargo aircraft. The company said Thursday it has raised $40 million at a post-money valuation of $400 million. The company is setting its sights on expansion — not only tripling its engineering team, but eventually running regular fully unmanned commercial cargo flights. Xwing has developed technology to automatically detect and avoid other aircraft and obstacles, integrating radar, ADSB, optical cameras and lidar. The sensor system is designed to be easily added to existing aircraft, along with navigation and control systems that allow the plane to go from taxi to landing by itself, deciding on the most efficient flight path and adjusting to any issues along the way, while coordinating with air traffic controllers. "Our software integra

In the business of training pilots, the airlines are making a quick buck

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Becoming a pilot is an expensive proposition due to the high training costs without an assurance of a job and on the other hand can be a lucrative business for some. Every year hundreds of youth train to become pilots at flying schools in India and abroad having borrowed huge sums in loans or mortgage. A pilots profession not only pays well but increases the social standing of an individual. The youth is desperate for jobs and the airlines need pilots, but do airlines have a moral and social responsibility of not making pilot training into a business which works towards maximising profits and at some stage even insensitivity? A pilots profession is an aspirational career for most young adults and more so after the aviation boom with the arrival of airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet. IndiGo leads the pack in terms of market share and number of aircrafts. The growth of the airlines has been phenomenal and expansion is a never ending process. This requires the recruitment of hundreds of pi

Spicejet bends all rules to fly to Gangtok airport risking lives, in the wake of Calicut accident

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Approach at Pakyong airport The cosy relationship between SpiceJet and the Indian aviation regulator stands exposed when each day passengers and crew fly to and from from Pakyong airport built on a table top with hills on one side and a deep valley on the other. Whereas passengers are oblivious to the risks involved with the flight that they are traveling on, the crew are living on a prayer that they come back safely. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim which is the home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s. Access to Gangtok has always been by road which takes five hours to reach from the nearest airport, which is Baghdogra. Sikkim is also of strategic importance due to its location. The construction of an airport at Pakyong near Gangtok would therefore would hold much importance and with the inauguration of the airport by the Prime Minister in Sept 2018,

Seconds away from disaster, IndiGo pilots react swiftly using well trained maneuver

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  IndiGo ATR 6E7972 IndiGo ATR-72 taking off from Shillong airport 0n 27th Feb 2021was seconds away from disaster when the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) alerted the crew that the flight path that they had chosen to fly would end up flying into a hill ahead. 30 seconds from impact IndiGo ATR The crew were alerted approx. 30 seconds before impact with mountains, by an automated visual and audio alert "TERRAIN AHEAD PULL UP". The crew reacted instinctively as per well rehearsed training procedures to steer the aircraft away from danger. Everyone is prone to errors and there are warnings too but it is a well trained crew who is able to react in a timely manner to prove the effectiveness of training. ‘Saves’ – An accident avoided.(Source ICAO) The industry has recorded a number of ‘saves’ where EGPWS provided a timely alert to the crew to avoid an accident; some of these events were sufficiently serious that national authority investigations were required, repor

HANSA NG, India breaks the taboo entering trainer aircraft manufacture

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  India has rolled out the much awaited single engine basic trainer aircraft to meet with the requirements of training pilots who would graduate to become airline pilots.   Hansa - 3  is India’s first all-composite light aircraft designed and developed by CSIR-NAL a government organization in partnership with MESCO aerospace, ideally suited for ab-initio flying training, sport and hobby flying.  With this aim, the new generation HANSA is equipped with a glass cockpit, capable of Instruments only flying, electrically operated flap system and an imported ROTAX 912iSc engine which develops a continuous power of 98 bhp. The aircraft structure uses JIPREG composite, a National Aeronautics Limited technology. This   Computer Controlled Fabric Impregnation Machine (CCFIM) replaces the cumbersome manual resin impregnation processes, ridden with drawbacks like non-uniform wetting of fabrics, weave distortions and poor quality of impregnation, due to their dependence on human skills. It further

Tata's & Air India, cultures apart

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The Tata's may have been the genesis of aviation and Air India but they stand cultures apart. The tie up with AirAsia seems to be crumbling primarily due to the marked difference in the ideology of the two groups. AirAsia is a high risk and profit driven ruthless organisation on the other hand the Tata culture is more benevolent and investment in the employees. Research has shown that 30% of mergers fails due to work culture issues. Over the years since Air India was taken over by the government and converted to a public sector undertaking, the service to the public stopped and motivated interests took over the agenda of running the airlines. Each chief executive that takes over the reigns, is remotely controlled by the aviation ministry. Al. important appointments have the approval of the ministry and so much so that even daily working is dictated by them. The government doesn't walk the talk when giving the slogan "the government should not be running airports or airlin