Probe against six IndiGo pilots for taking selfies mid-air

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Bengaluru, July 14 (IANS) The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered in inquiry against six IndiGo pilots for taking selfies in a cockpit when airborne and on runways, an RTI activist said Thursday.

“This is a serious violation. We are collecting more evidence and suitable action will be taken soon. We have told the airline management to discourage such activities,” Bengaluru-based activist Alok Narula, 46, said, quoting from the regulator’s reply to his RTI query on June 2.

The six pilots are Captain Deepak Hooda and first officers Vaibhav Rathore, Satish B Iyer, Nipinder Jit Khokhar, Raj Barot and Ahbas Gupta.

“The selfies, taken from personal digital cameras mounted on a pedestal in the cockpit when airborne, were posted in the Facebook accounts of the pilots,” Narula told IANS here.

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Naruala, an independent software developer, is a frequent flier from Bengaluru.

“The regulator has warned the pilots against taking selfies in mid-air, risking lives of passengers,” he said quoting from the DGCA’s reply to him.

Regulators worldwide, including DGCA, FAA, ICAO, EASA and IATA have classified digital cameras under the portable wireless electronic devices (PEDs) category and prohibited their use during all stages of flight till 2014.

“In 2014, regulators relaxed the No PED policy for airline passengers but tightened it for flight crew, as investigations into air mishaps in the US and elsewhere found that non-operational use of PEDs diverts attention (of pilots) from activities necessary for safe operations,” the statement said.

As per FAA and EASA regulations, PEDs such as digital cameras, cell phones and music players are prohibited in the cockpit/flight deck in the US and Europe since April 2014.

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In India, though DGCA guidelines prohibit the usage of all PEDs except I-Pad since July 2014, it appears IndiGo pilots did not care about these regulations.

“They (pilots) merrily went about taking selfies mid-air and posted them on their Facebook accounts,” Narula reiterated.

The regulator has assured Narula that disciplinary action would be taken against the pilots and the airline if its inquiry found them guilty of misconduct.



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