NEW DELHI: A senior management pilot with a private airline landed in trouble after he ended up on the wrong runway in Rajkot recently. Worse, he did not report the incident and went on to do a ‘familiarisation flight’ with a newly-inducted trainee with the airline.
While the DGCA has ordered an inquiry into the incident, every attempt was made to hush it up earlier.
The erring pilot - a flight inspector holding a top position in the management - had conducted a ‘fam flight’ a few days after his wrong landing. A ‘fam flight’ is one that is conducted with the trainees to help them familiarise with the cockpit and flying.
The “confused landing” of Jet Airways flight occurred on Feb 7, with around 100 passengers on board. One of the pilots had asked for permission to land on Runway 23, while another sought permission for Runway 5. Ultimately, the latter landed on runway 23 from the the wrong end, which was not in use, before the ATC gave clearance. One of the pilots was Capt Kunal Khajuria, Deputy Chief Pilot on the B737 fleet with the airline.
Khajuria, who is responsible for clearing freshly inducted trainees in the airline, is supposed to teach trainees about safe flying procedures and cannot afford to make such mistakes. Moreover, as a responsible pilot, he was expected to report the incident, which he failed to do.
The company assigned him a trainee pilot flight thereafter. “An erring pilot cannot be assigned such a crucial responsibility by the airline,” an aviation safety expert noted. The pilot has now been grounded by the DGCA until investigations are over.