The civil aviation regulator has made it mandatory for the pilots and engineers, mainly from the armed forces, to acquire the licenses by July this year if they have been involved in operating civilian flights for over a year with documents issued by the Army or the Indian Air Force(IAF).
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued the order to all air operators and organisations, state-run or private, to ensure that these personnel obtain its licence by July, sources said on Monday.
The DGCA also warned that non-compliance would attract strict action against the individuals and operators under the prevailing rules, the sources said.
The order came in the wake of reports of some accidents involving helicopters, including the one in April 2011 at Tawang, that the pilot and the flight engineers were operating on the basis of exemption under Rule 160 of the Aircraft Rules.
Though the pilots and engineers, several of whom died in the accidents, were qualified and had enough flying experience, they did not possess DGCA certification which could be obtained after civilian aircraft flying tests.
They were operating under Rule 160 which says that "the Central Government may, by general or special order in writing, exempt any aircraft or class of aircraft or any person or class of persons from the operation of these rules, either wholly or partially, subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such order."
The fresh DGCA order also said that "all operators/ organisations are also directed to report such cases to DGCA wherein no timeline for exercise of privilege under Rule 160 has been prescribed and the holder is exercising privilege beyond one year from the date of issue of such exemption."