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Pilot threatens co-pilots with ax; complaints registered

Have you ever threatened your subordinates? Or have you ever received threats from your seniors?

Air India has acted against one of its senior commanders for allegedly threatening to hit trainee pilots with a “crash ax” on more than one occasion while flying.

The airline received complaints from two trainee pilots, one claiming that the trainer took out the ax — kept on board to break open the cockpit door in case the aircraft meets with a mishap and the exits are jammed — and kept it on the controls while threatening to hit him.

Another trainee pilot also complained of being threatened with an ax. An AI spokesman said: “The captain (is) not to exercise the privileges of type rated instructor (Airbus) with effect from February 28, 2018, until further notice.” The captain was recently given a limited release pending the outcome of the investigation. 

READ ALSO: Air India Express eyes expansion by introducing more flights to Kerala

According to sources, AI received a complaint from a trainee pilot on January 26, 2018, which alleged the instructor was rude and had once “hit him on the head” soon after taking off from Mumbai for Kolkata when the Airbus A-320 was at 5,000 feet.

This trainee complained that the trainer, on another flight, took out the crash ax and kept it on the central panel while threatening to hit him. This trainee alleged the instructor’s bad behavior, like verbal assault and threats, had started in August 2017.

The very next day, on January 27, another co-pilot complained against the same instructor, asking AI not to put her on flights with him as his behavior endangered flight safety. She, too, reportedly complained of being threatened with an ax.

AI swung into action. “AI’s flight safety department asked the training department to immediately stop using him as an instructor and investigate the complaints. The verbal abuse itself is sufficient to remove him,” said an official.


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