Air India has grounded a senior Airbus A-320 commander for a string of alleged violations, including flying an aircraft very dangerously.
“Once he made a public announcement on ground that AI has done many violations and that he will not take off till the airline accepts its mistake. One of AI’s senior Boeing 747 pilots, who operates VVIP flights, was on this aircraft as a passenger and he reported the matter to the airline,” said the source.
However, the commander’s past lapses were glossed over till the captain recently operated a ferry (without passengers) flight from Delhi to Gaya which came on AI’s flight safety department’s radar due to reckless flying following which the airline acted against him.
On the Delhi-Gaya flight, said a highly placed source, the commander reportedly took off at 40 knots (74 kmph) more than maximum take-off speed and that too right at the fag end of the runway. The tyres were blistering hot. He pulled the aircraft nose up by a sharp 24 degrees instead of the normal 12-13 degrees; took a series of sharp turns in air and then had a very fast rate of descent (about 12,500 feet per minute) in Gaya.
Several pilots claim that on this flight there was a moment when the co-pilot “got lifted from his seat” during one of the alleged “stunts”. This could not be confirmed.