India’s DGCA has struggled with with “peer” audits
It has enthusiastically followed a State Safety Program
DGCA identified that one of India’s airlines was using pilots with inadequate training
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation should be commended. The below article shows that the IDGCA has advanced its regulatory scope to identifying problems proactively.
Here’s some background. After several disappointing audits by the FAA and ICAO, India’s aviation safety organization has taken a problem-solving approach-
- Will The DGCA Receive Its Category I Before, During Or After The President’s Visit To India?
- India’s Category I Reinstatement Was Conditioned–What Do The Four “Deficiencies” Indicate About Its Aviation Safety?
- Inscrutable India DGCA May Need More Scrutiny On Aviation Safety Matters
- India’s DGCA Is Being Audited Again; Standards Matter
- The ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programauditors are coming to India in March, 2017. They were last there in 2012 and then it was determined that the DGCA qualified as one of the thirteen worst Civil Aviation Authorities around the world. The USOAP involves the review of a sovereign’s aviation safety program by a UN Organization of which India is a dues-paying member. Talk about a difficult government-to-government moment.
- Is IDGCA Not Instilling In Air India Attention To Details?
- FAA Inspectors Are Returning To India For The Third Time- Pending Major Questions
The IDGCA has adopted a state-of-art governmental system management system (SMS) approach to its work and began its process in 2010. A product of this discipline, National Aviation Safety Programme has been published thereafter. Most importantly the NASP is a living document with annual reviews, documented progress and increasingly focused targets.
One of its points of emphasis has been State Safety Objective 9.0 and that surveillance discipline led to finding that one of its airlines failed to qualify 90 of its pilots to the rigorous standards for Max 8 flight (see below article for details):
The 2022 NASP captures the SMS principle of continuous improvement and devotes an entire Chapter 4 Emerging Safety Issues –
4.1 Civil Drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)
4.2 Emerging SPI in Airborne Conflict
4.2.1 Communication Errors
4.3 Emerging SPI in Loss of Control in-flight
4.3.1 Laser Interferences
4.4 Emerging threat in Ground Handling Services
4.5 In-flight Crew Incapacitation
This DGCA dedication is an excellent development because India is both a massively growing domestic air transportation market and a potentially large source of aeronautical aerospace products.
Wed, April 13, 2022,
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd said on Wednesday the country’s aviation regulator has asked 90 pilots belonging to the airline to restrain from flying Boeing 737 MAX planes.
SpiceJet, which currently operates 11 MAX aircraft and has 144 pilots to fly them, said the pilots have been restricted from operating MAX jets until they undergo retraining to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) satisfaction.
These pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft and the restriction does not impact the operations of MAX aircraft whatsoever, a SpiceJet spokesperson said.
The airline is Boeing’s biggest customer in the South Asian nation for MAX planes. The planemaker did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The pilots need to retrain successfully’ and we will take strict action against those found responsible for the lapse, Arun Kumar, the directorate general at India’s air safety watchdog DGCA, said.
The regulator had cleared in August the 737 MAX aircraft to fly after a near two-and-a-half-year regulatory grounding following two fatal crashes in 2019.
Boeing’s 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes in five months killed 346 people, plunging the planemaker into a financial crisis, since compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru and Aditi Shah in New Delhi; editing by Uttaresh.V)
It is “the most scrutinized, most audited aircraft in history” – this is how Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, called the Boeing 737 MAX. In less than no time, the most demanded aircraft in history turned into an investigation object by aviation safety regulators worldwide. Almost two years of Boeing 737 MAX grounding, extensive works on design and software changes, collaborative and independent reviews, and finally, the type is cleared to fly in Brazil, Mexico, the USA, Canada, and just recently – in Europe. All of the regulators have unanimously claimed that no single pilot can return to operating Boeing 737 MAX without completing additional training in a full flight simulator (FFS) and requested upgrades to various Boeing 737 MAX pilot training programs. The training requirements are broadly the same for each of the regulatory bodies. The article takes a closer look at Boeing 737 MAX pilot training.
What’s new in Boeing 737 MAX pilot training?
It has already been established the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is integrated into Boeing 737 MAX and intended for “pushing” the nose of the aircraft down to prevent stall (loss of lift), was not on pilot training manuals previously. Therefore, pilots were unaware of the procedures to follow if the anti-stall system would start working with the erroneous sensor values.
After all the scrutiny and enhancements, from now on, Boeing 737 MAX pilots will have to cover requirements for MCAS, Autopilot Flight Director System (AFDS) peculiarities, and additional Special Emphasis Areas during both ground and flight training. Here are some of the mandatory elements to be studied during initial, upgrade, transition, differences, recurrent training, or all of them:
- Multiple flight deck alerts during non-normal conditions;
- Automatic landings;
- Enhanced Digital Flight Control System (EDFCS);
- Boeing 737 MAX FCC and MCAS;
- HUD and non-HUD operations (when HUD is installed and an operator is authorized);
- Boeing 737 MAX gear handle;
- Stabilizer trim;
- Runaway stabilizer;
- Unreliable airspeed and erroneous angle of attack (AOA).
They are described in more detail in chapter 9, point 9.2 of the FBS report by FAA, which EASA also makes reference to.
FAA: special training for flight crews
Both EASA and FAA require pilots flying Boeing 737 MAX or conducting 737NG/737 MAX Mixed fleet flying (MFF) to complete a return to service training (RTS). The detailed overview presented in Appendix 7 of the FAA Flight Standardization Board Report (FBS) is the key source for more information which both regulators offer for familiarization.
The training consists of the ground and flight time and is expected to take around 5 hours in total, according to multiple resources and airlines who have already resumed flights specifically. The breakdown is approximately the following: 90-120 min. of computer-based training (CBT), 2 hours in a Boeing 737 MAX* Level C or D FFS, and a one-hour debriefing session. The below bullet points are taken directly from Appendix 7 of the FBS and describe the Boeing 737 MAX flight training pieces. They can be completed as standalone or embedded into another curriculum.
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