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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Navy set to augment pool of qualified Test pilots

With LCA Navy finally hitting the flightpath, TPs' demand to go up

Photo: Indian Navy 
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service

With the naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) finally hitting the right flightpath, Navy feels the necessity for qualified TPs immediately. “There are concerns with the availability of TPs and they (Navy) are now addressing it at the senior-most level. The idea is to augment the existing corpus of TPs. There are also concerns over the high failure rate of officers being sent for TPs screening. Emphasis will be given for their proper grooming,” sources said.Bangalore: The Indian Navy is gearing up to address the shortage of test pilots (TPs) and save themselves from sailing into troubled waters. The Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) has written to its naval aviation arm(s) for the augmentation of TPs. Sources tell Express that there's no panic yet and they are confident to meet, what is being termed as, 'an inescapable requirement.'
To raise the TPs selection bar, the Navy would now put stringent measures in place. “The Navy plans to view the failure of TPs during screening test as a very serious matter. The short-listed candidates are likely to be given a minimum of six months as preparation time, ahead of the screening. The idea  is to make the aircrew stay motivated ahead of the screening test,” sources said.
Responding to a set of Express queries, the Navy said that it has presently adequate TPs to meet the requirements. “Since Test flying is a specialised task, the number of pilots required with such qualification is limited. It is based on the assessed requirements vis-a-vis the available strength of suitably qualified pilots. As the LCA (Navy) programme picks up pace, additional TPs will be provided,” naval Spokesperson Cdr P V S Satish said.
To a query whether the high failure rates of officers nominated for TP screening is a matter of serious concern, Cdr Satish said: “The TPs' course is an extremely demanding one and the screening involves testing for esoteric capabilities beyond normal operational flying. Rejection in such high demand courses are known to be higher than in regular courses. The Indian Navy, therefore, pays special attention to the screening and selection of potential TPs.”
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)

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