'Faulty' Bombay High helipads on DGCA radar

Jun 11, 2012, 07:28 IST | Bipin Kumar Singh

Civil aviation regulatory body begins auditing all helipads at the oilfield after MiD DAY reported chopper pilots claiming they are not built as per necessary specifications

In what must come as a breath of fresh air to several pilots operating in the area, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has begun the process to audit all existing helipads at Bombay High, top sources claimed. The move comes after MiD DAY had reported on April 29 (Pilots fear faulty helipads) that helipads at the oil rigs are not built as per the specifications of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and DGCA. According to sources, DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan himself chaired a meeting of officials and helicopter pilots in Mumbai to shape up the modalities to inspect all these helipads.

Slippery slope: Several pilots, on condition of anonymity, have told MiD DAY that a majority of the helipads at the oil rigs of Bombay High (above), are not built as per the specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organization and Directorate General of Civil Aviation. FILE PIC

“During his recent visit to Mumbai on June 5, the DGCA chief discussed the mechanism of appraising the helipads at oil rigs of Bombay High. During his meeting with AAI officials — including Juhu aerodrome authority and a group of chopper pilots — Bharat Bhushan stated that a committee under the guidance of a deputy director general (DDG) level official should be constituted to audit all the existing helipads at Bombay High,” maintained a senior official, who was present at the meeting.

Juhu aerodrome director M Yadagiri too confirmed having met the DGCA chief on June 5, but did not elaborate further. MiD DAY had highlighted in its report how many of the helipads at Bombay High, where Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) runs its operations, are more than 25 years old. As a result, choppers are forced to fly with low loads or risk a flight hazard. The matter was also brought to the notice of the DGCA chief, who, while speaking to MiD DAY, had said, “We have already taken many steps to improve things. We will undertake a detailed audit soon.” 

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