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Antony contradicts air force chief on plane crashes
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 12/12/2011 12:00:00 AM
Antony contradicts air force chief on plane crashes

New Delhi : Contradicting the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Monday told parliament that inexperience of pilots is not one of the major reasons for aircraft accidents, even as he pointed out that 30 combat planes and 10 helicopters have crashed in the last four years.

Antony, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said the government is taking steps to train pilots to prevent air crashes due to human error. The inexperience of pilots is not one of the major reasons for aircraft accidents in the IAF, Antony said to questions on media reports in this regard.

On Air Force Day Oct 8 this year, the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, had told reporters that the recent spate of MiG crashes was due to the inexperience of pilots in all but one case this year. Nevertheless, steps have been taken by the government to train pilots to prevent accidents due to human error.

These include increase use of simulators to practice procedures and emergency actions, focused and realistic training with additional emphasis on the critical aspects of mission, introduction of crew resource management and operational risk management to enable safe mission launches, aviation psychology courses and introduction of aerospace safety capsules in the ab-initio training of aircrew, he said.

Antony said during the three years from April 1, 2008 to Dec 3, 2011, 30 fighter aircraft, including 16 MiG-21s, and 10 IAF helicopters had crashed. Twenty-six defence personnel, including 13 pilots, lost their lives in the accidents. Six civilians were also killed.

The main causes for the accidents were human error and technical defects, Antony said, adding that every accident is thoroughly investigated by a court of inquiry to ascertain its cause and remedial measures are taken to check their recurrence.

He said a multi-discipline study team has bee formed by the IAF to investigate the accidents. On the phase-out of aging aircraft, Antony said the decision is taken based on various factors, including residual life of the plane and operational considerations. The fleet, he said, is reviewed by the government from time to time, and this is a continuous process.

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Antony contradicts air force chief on plane crashes

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