Is Air India Safe: Pilots Put Newspaper Over WindshieldBack to Forum
Anonymous26 May 2011
A pretty worrying article, especially in light of AI’s pending membership of Star:26 May 2011
I agree, dont see what the big problem is. From the article it reads they were doing this while in the cruise, and to be fair it happens in lots of airlines.
Most commercial flights operate IFR in the cruise, you are not looking outside, you are monitoring the instruments/auto pilot. Absolutely no different to flying in clouds, you cant see out then either.
Never seen newspapers used to cover the windscreen, but have seen maps, and checklists used lots, even at BA, as it’s much easier to see the instruments without the glare of the sun, which can give a nasty headache after awhile.26 May 2011
I fly a lot within India and I take the view that if you survive the trip to (and from) the airport, you’ve survived 99.99% of the risk on that journey. Overall, Indian carriers have a very good safety record and the big crashes have all involved foreign pilots.
I often take Air India because the legroom is far better than on the commercial carriers; most Indians refuse to fly on it so there is often lots of room to spread out and; I prefer the service style. The middle-aged staff are friendly but not effusive. Jet and Kingfisher are like SIA — I find myself wanting to hit someone if only to stop the incessant smiling. This is, though, probably a sign of my own psychological weakness rather than a key market advantage for AI Oh, and you get Lufthansa miles on AI26 May 2011
The biggest worry in India right now, is the hundreds of “pilots” that are flying that dont even have pilots licenses, and Captains that have thousands of hours in their log books, but have only really accumulated a few hundred.
There is a huge investigation going on right now, it was started when an expat “foreign” pilot was appalled that his young female first officer for that flight didnt know how to put her seatbelt on! Turns out she had only ever flown light GA aircraft, but was related to some important people, her license was a fraud.26 May 2011
Craig, wasnt there an article about flying schools in Flordia accepting cash incentives to get the pilots through their exams?
Its not only the glare on the flight deck in the cruise but also the heat. I’ve experienced a flight deck where the aircon was not performing and however much the windscreens were covered the heat eventually casued an unscheduled landing.
UV rays are/were an issue.
If you are concerned about pilots blanking the windscreen in the cruise, it pales into insigificance, when you view what a pilot can sometimes “see” at 110 feet above the ground. whilst trying to land after a 10 hour + flight, whilst travelling at 150 mph+. Then consider the choice, autopilot or a manual landing. You really have to have confidence that your equipment works.27 May 2011
I am very surprized at VK’s comment considering he is kind of information guru for aviation! Did he take any night flight? And what the pilots are supposed to see during midflight? Also it looks like VK did not notice even BA’s cockpit. Before 9/11, one could easily get glimpse of cockpit duirng flight. I noticed pilot placed some kind of chart on the windshield during midflight. BA also has a history of flying for quite some distance with a pilot lodged on windshield and another two holding him – except during landing, surely no one was looking at anything else. Also Martyn’s link provided a good example. Air India has severe problem – all travellers accept that and still travel due to value for money and it is safe. Whereas for BA – a premium airlines, travellers suffered much more duirng various BA strikes, etc. Does that mean, we will stop flying BA?27 May 2011
The above post is seriously misinformed.
The comparison between the few days of industrial action unsupported by the majority of cabin crew and these serious, systemic safety issues is nonsensical.
Any pilot will tell you it is essential to have outside visibility, even at night.
There is always the possibility of traffic in the vicinity, and even at night an example of the need to see out would be the BA9 St. Elmo’s Fire incident over Indonesia, which especially relevant in current circumstances:
Placing a chart on a windshield is entirely different from blocking visibility with newspaper.
And that was the least of the safety concerns cited as prevalent in many Indian airlines.27 May 2011
The posting is not at all misinformed. Off late posting from the vaunted information guru make me thinking – are these from real experinece – or just culled from internet and other sources – and making a post for all kind of things as an obsession. A couple of other poster raised this doubt earlier that I ignored. But now those posting making me thinking.28 May 2011
In BA9 St. Elmo’s full incident report clearly indicated, pilots were very busy with aircraft’s instruments system and trying to restart the engine. During this ordeal, they sent other crew to check the engines from passengers window. Engines could not be ‘viewed’ from cockpit.
Visibility is important for small aircraft (as anyone taken lesson will know) and also duirng take-offs and landing (although landing is now possible blind through cat III ILS).
There are one or two problem with every airlines – but telling Air India is unsafe from a silly news (paper on windshild), it is seriously misinformed.
On the other hand – a frequent industrial actions has a corelation with emplyoee morale. And employee morale has definitive corelation with safety.28 May 2011
VK – “Any pilot will tell you it is essential to have outside visibility, even at night. ” – yes, but only when VFR, not when flying IFR.
It is essential to have good vis when flying VFR, not so much when IFR. There are only a few commercial pilots that would actually be looking for traffic while in the cruise, otherwise after 10+ hours of staring at the sun you are not going to be in good shape.
I’m sorry, but I dont really see the big difference between placing a newspaper over the windscreen, or using maps/checklists.
Dont get me wrong, Air India does have some serious problems, but I think the media have seen this story and jumped on it because it sounds good to the public.
And finally VK, thats a bit harsh commenting on Inquisitive’s english, as it’s pretty clear that his native language is not english. I can guarantee that his english is better than my grasp of whatever his first language is, and i’d hazard a guess that would apply to you as well.28 May 2011