Apropos G Zaman’s letter “Shaheen Air Accident” involving B 737 which while landing at Lahore with reportedly higher than recommended airspeed touched down with wings not level, resulting in Left Main Gear column hitting runway, and hammer effect ruptured landing gear. The aircraft with this sideways momentum skidded on to left side of Runway 36 Left at Lahore and miraculously no lives were lost. Investigators need to look into structural integrity of main landing gear and failure by CAA to regulate both pilot and aircraft airworthiness.

FAA conducts over 10,000 random checks on pilots every year for alcohol or drug abuse and on average about 12 pilots fail test. CAA should have been doing the same, but it has failed in performing its regulatory functions through a team of experienced qualified inspectors with impeccable integrity. Permissible prescribed limit set for pilots by FAA in USA is 0.04 % and 0.02 % set by British law, which is more stringent than 0.08% limit for motor vehicles, since more human lives are at risk.

Crew members and other staff, including law enforcement agencies deputed at airports serve as barriers for protecting against tipsy pilots, such as colleague intervention by QANTAS pilot in 2012, or Air Trans pilot in 2011. Similarly two American West pilots were reported by colleagues and others from operating a flight in 2002 and Captain was sentenced to 5 year in prison with Copilot served a two year term. FAA takes Emergency Revocation action against pilot’s airman certificates when alcohol results are reported above legal limits. The Pilot Airman Certificate or other License holders are also at risk if it is demonstrated that you knowingly allowed a pilot under influence of alcohol or drugs to act as crew member. Refusal by pilots to submit to Alcohol Test by deputed Law Enforcement Officer or other competent officer authorized by Civil Aviation Authority of the country is also ground for License Revocation. So strict is FAA that pilots involved in Motor Vehicle Action involving drunk driving are required to inform them. Two incidences, no matter how far apart, leads to the individual not being authorized to exercise privileges of his medical fitness certification, requiring him to undergo a thorough medical assessment.


Lahore, November 16.