A pilots’ body belonging to Air India has warned that if the existing weather radar fitted on A320s is not replaced it could result in major accidents.

Regulatory requirement

Claiming that the Bendix weather radar was obsolete, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), in a letter to Air India, said that pilots rely on the judgment of other pilots flying in the vicinity by following the weather deviations adopted by them or follow them using display on the TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System). “The weather radars are merely fitted to fulfil the regulatory requirement and serve practically no purpose at all,” Capt T. Praveen Keerthi, General Secretary, ICPA, said.

Air India did not reply to a query regarding claims made by ICPA on the weather radar. “We have had incidents where passengers and crew have been injured as a result of weather related incidents en-route,” Capt Keerthi said. He also drew attention to the fact that global warming puts aircraft without modern equipment at a greater risk. “The situation is getting worse now as pilots worldwide are now realising the effect of global warming on high altitude weather.”

Reliability matters

The letter also pointed out that during adverse situations, it is the reliability of the equipment on board the aircraft which matters the most. Capt Keerthi said A320s with registration like VT-EPB, ESA and EPH have been fitted with such “obsolete’’ radars.

The ICPA has also sent a copy of the letter to the DGCA and Civil Aviation Secretary.