IAF’s flawed training resulting in pilot shortage: CAG

October 30th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) is facing an acute shortage of efficient pilots after failing miserably to impart quality training, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed.”The number of pilots trained in various streams during 2001-2006 was much lower than planned targets, indicating that either the training targets did not take into account constraints or IAF failed to ensure adequate intake of pilot trainees through an effective recruitment strategy,” the report on the IAF reveals.

The startling revelations have come after IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major admitted to IANS in an interview in August that the air force is short of 400 pilots and it will take another five years to plug the gap.

Contending that the IAF’s requirement of trained pilots will substantially increase during 2008-2018 to meet the expansion needs of IAF squadrons, the report said: “The IAF has not implemented any effective training strategy for meeting the increased intake requirements by addressing problems related to limitations of air space or runway occupancy and other infrastructural constraints.”

The report has also highlighted the absence of any long-term training plan for pilots of fighter and other aircrafts consistent with its long-term strategic objectives, desired force levels and technological changes.

“The interim training plans for short periods of two years have led to short sighted decisions impacting the quality of pilot training.

“The number of pilots failing to complete their training successfully was significantly higher than the assessed average wastage rates in 45 percent of courses. There was also lack of continuity in the transition of a pilot from initial training to intermediate and advanced stages of training,” the report added.

The audit report has attributed the discontinuity in training to the lack of adequate number of state-of-the-art training aircraft with the IAF.

According to the CAG’s findings, 42 percent of the 276 aircraft accidents reported during 1995-2005 were attributed to human errors.

“HPT-32 aircraft used for Stage-I training is technologically outdated and beset by flight safety hazards. In spite of loss of 11 pilots and 15 aircraft, it continues to be used today. Further HPT-32 does not aid in the smooth transition of trainees to the next stage of training,” said the report.

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