BENGALURU: The Indian Air Force is just a nod away from inducting some of their doctors who are aviation specialists as full-fledged fighter pilots. Iterating his initiative towards that end since last year, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff, on Thursday, said, “Indian Air Force has taken note of it and are moving the case. They will be full-fledged pilots in the cockpit.”
He was speaking at a conference by the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ISAM).He believed the role would help them, as a flying member, address certain areas in a better manner in the future. The IAF had such plans in place in the 1960s and early 1970s, according to ISAM officials.
Bhadauria assured that work would start in that direction but “will require some clearances and approvals”.
Veterans TNIE spoke to said that cost was one of the reasons why the training of doctors as pilots was discontinued.
It was also difficult for the doctors to give total dedication to either of the fields because both are very specialised and challenging roles.
Highlighting this predicament, aviation specialist Air Marshal JK Gupta (retd) who is aware of the programme and went through the initial round of test said he gave up because he realised he would not do total justice to either of the roles.
Aerospace medicine as a career
"We really need to look at why youngsters today are not looking at taking aviation medicine as a preferred field," said Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. Speaking at the ISAM conference, he said he has been grappling with this problem for a while and assured to take necessary steps in the regard.
A top official from the Institute of Aerospace Medicine told TNIE that the problem was a lack of promotions. Another official said the specialisation in aerospace medicine limited their scope to put it to use in civil medicine.