The Dreamliners are in news yet again for wrong reasons. Three aircraft were grounded in Delhi on Monday morning, as the pilots of these aircraft are not trained to fly in fog.
When the fog was clear by the day, one of the Dreamliners that took off to Frankfurt was forced to make a come back from Afghanistan after developing a technical snag.
The crew of B 787 Dreamliners is not trained to fly in fog. When the visibility at the Delhi Airport Runway witnessed a drop in visibility to less than 100m, the Dreamliners were grounded. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has written to all airlines that pilots and co-pilots flying in and out of Delhi during the fog season should be trained to fly when CAT III procedures are in place at the airport.
"Till date, 220 pilots of Air India have been trained to fly the Dreamliner, but none has the training to fly in fog," said an Air India official. Of the total domestic pilot fleet across different airlines, only 50% pilots are trained to fly in fog. "The fog season is very short and the cost of training is very high. As a result, the airlines cannot afford to train all pilots to fly in the fog," added the officer.
Dreamliners flying to Bengaluru, Heathrow (London) and Frankfurt were delayed and passengers Standard at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the capital. After a prolonged delay in Delhi, the Dreamliner took off to Frankfurt at around noon with about 200 passengers. However after more than four hours of flight and flying over Afghanistan, it developed a technical snag and was made to come back to Delhi.
"The electronic transponder of the aircraft, that transmits the position, altitude, speed of the aircraft to the ATC developed a snag," informed the officer. The officer also informed that the pilot made attempts to restart the transponder, but failed. The aviation rules in Afghanistan does not permit an aircraft to use its air space freely.
"The aircraft could not keep a constant touch with the ground as a result it was forced to make a come back to Delhi," added the officer. This is not an isolated incident, when a Dreamliner has been grounded because of the technical snag. While for some pilots, it is an excellent aircraft to fly and that these snags are initial glitches. "When the airbus were first introduces, they too had numerous glitches, but with time, they have improvised and are the best air crafts," said a pilots. While others feel that the Dreamliners are unreliable air crafts.
However, sources said that with the technical staff not adequately trained to service the Dreamliners. "The training is on. The batches are being trained both in India and other countries. All glitches so far have been minor ones. The problem will iron out in a few months' time," said another officer.