Pilots gear up for monsoon with simulator training

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Jun 29 | Updated: Jun 30 2008, 05:39am hrs
Airline companies may be in turmoil due to high fuel prices and weakening demand, but they are taking no chances in ensuring safe travel during the monsoon.

In fact, many airlines are giving extensive training to their pilots to help them steer aircraft in adverse weather conditions.

These pilots not only follow the guidelines laid by the director general of civil aviation (DGCA) but also undergo a simulator training to battle different kinds of weather conditions during the rainy season.

Captain Mathais Nordseik, deputy chief pilot, Jet Airways, told FE, During the rainy season, only monsoon-experienced pilots take to the steering of the aircraft.

The co-pilot generally communicates with the air traffic controller (ATC) to get signals for landings and take-offs.

He added that the co-ordination between the co-pilot and the ATC helps them to be informed whether the runway is damp, wet or contaminated, so that appropriate performance may be applied before a take-off or approach is initiated.

Captain J Dhillon, vice-president, flight operations, SpiceJet, agrees that pilots have to be more cautious during the monsoons when the winds are not favourable.

We undergo a simulator training before the monsoons arrive. The training helps us take quick action in case the runway is wet or in case there is a rough wind spate.

Another pilot from a reputed airline said that all the airlines have written to the civil aviation ministry to have provision of more parking bays at airports that are designated as diversion airfields so that they can accommodate more diverted aircraft during the monsoon.

The pilot adds, Airports like Mumbai are prone to heavy disruptions including closure for a limited period due to flooding.

There are hardly any airports where the flights could be diverted. Smaller airports like Aurangabad, Indore, Goa and Pune should be positively made available in such contingencies.

Even the airports are geared up at the onset of monsoon. For instance, the Mumbai International

Airport (MIAL) has installed an automated weather observing system (AWOS) which is an integrated airport weather observing system for airports.

The system helps in terms of visibility and will be useful to the pilots.

Usually, the Mumbai weather is clear but at times and especially during the monsoons, visibility may get poor and that is when the machine helps pilots locate the runways.