Female pilot in Goa crash landing loses licence


Chennai/New Delhi – The licence of a woman pilot of no-frills airline IndiGo has been cancelled after she made a rough landing in Goa last month, endangering several lives and investigators later found she had allegedly faked papers to get her permit to fly.

“Yes, it (commercial pilot’s licence) has been cancelled. We will file a police complaint soon against the pilot, Parminder Kaur Gulati,” DGCA Director General Bharat Bhushan said.

“DGCA will carry detailed probe to ensure that such things do not recur. We will take necessary steps accordingly…”, he said.

DGCA sources said the pilot while flying the private Indigo airliner made a rough landing at Goa airport on January 11 using the nose wheel instead of the rear landing gear.

Investigations have revealed that she used the wrong technique several times, the sources said.

According to DGCA, to obtain airline transport pilot license, one needs to fly 1,500 flying hours and also required to complete an examination.

The sources said the pilot while landing needs to use the aircraft’s rear wheels to touchdown as the nose wheel is not equipped to take the plane’s heavy weight.

DGCA would also probe whether any touts helped the pilot obtain the license, sources said and added that the DGCA was also contemplating filing police report against the pilot on two counts — of endangering safety of passengers and fraud and forgery, but no decision has yet been taken.

The sources said the incident came to light when the Airbus A-320 returned to Delhi from Goa and a routine inspection found that its nosewheel was damaged.

The investigators then analysed the data of the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) of the aircraft, which the sources claimed, showed that the lady captain had used the wrong landing technique that caused the nosewheel damage.

Following the probe, it was also found that the papers of Capt Gulati were not in order and enquiries into them showed that the documents, required for getting a flying license, were forged, the sources claimed.

When contacted, IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said that the January incident was reported to DGCA and the airline had itself instituted an Investigation Board, whose findings were “accepted by DGCA”.

He said the pilot was not only sent to DGCA for corrective training but de-rostered last month itself.

“It was only last Thursday we were informed that there are some discrepancies in the license issued to her by the DGCA 2-3 years ago. As an airline, we can only rely on DGCA license and records. So we will follow DGCA instructions on this issue as well,” Ghosh said.

“We are requesting DGCA to conduct a thorough inquiry to ensure that there are no discrepancies in any other licences or certificates issued by it to any pilot, engineer or cabin attendant. We will proactively assist the aviation regulator in this matter as there is absolutely no compromise on safety,” he added.