Mouthwash, cough syrup as dangerous as alcohol for pilots!

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Using mouthwash, tooth gel or cough syrup having alcoholic content could ground you. (AP) Using mouthwash, tooth gel or cough syrup having alcoholic content could ground you. (AP)
SummaryThe DGCA has invited suggestions on the changes from the airlines.

Cockpit and cabin crew beware! Using mouthwash, tooth gel or cough syrup having alcoholic content could ground you.

The aviation regulator -- Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) -- in its new draft rules to check alcohol consumption among pilots and cabin crew has warned them not to consume any drug or use any substance (mouthwash or tooth gel) which has alcoholic content.

The DGCA has also suggested those crew members undergoing medication to consult the company's medical experts before undertaking flying assignments.

In its proposal for stricter anti-alcohol rules, the regulator has made it mandatory for all the pilots and cabin crew of flights originating from destinations outside India to undergo pre-flight medical check for alcohol consumption.

The regulator has also proposed to allow para-medical staff to conduct Breath Analyser test, which at present is carried out only by doctors.

It has also extended its policy for zero tolerance towards alcohol consumption by including aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) into its ambit.

"All aircraft maintenance personnel authorised for taxing aircraft shall be subjected to Breath Analyser (BA) check for alcohol consumption before undertaking any taxi operations of the aircraft. If found BA positive, AME shall not be permitted to undertake taxi operations," the new draft rule says.

According to present rules, no pilot should consume alcohol within 12 hours of flying duty. But at times, it has been found that though they clear the BA test, they continue to suffer from 'hangover'.

The DGCA has, however, shown some leniency towards punishing a drunk cockpit and cabin crew.

According to the new DGCA proposal, pilot and cabin crew caught drunk for the second time before operating a flight would be grounded for two years, instead of five years.

As per present rules, any pilot or cabin crew failing the BA test for the first time is grounded for three months and for five years for their second offence.

The aviation regulator has proposed that crew caught drunk the second time should be suspended for two years, while those caught the third time be suspended for five years.

But, if an instructor or an examiner or a check crew or a cabin crew in-charge is detected positive during the PFMC, he or she would lose his or her ratings or authorisation for minimum three years in addition to the grounding rules.

In the case of expatriate pilot, operating in India and holding Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA), is found positive in BA test, the DGCA

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