Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India in an Advisory Circular to all Indian operators of scheduled air transport services has recommended that they employ the services of Aviation Medicine Specialist. This has come as a fresh impetus on part of DGCA to prod the Airlines to ensure “effective maintenance and monitoring of health of their aircrew”. This is aimed at enhancing Flight Safety in Indian skies.
DGCA, outlining the broad necessity to have trained Aviation Medicine professionals, expects that this shall help in the following ways:-
- Health Care of Aircrew – Effective medical consultation and periodic medical review as per medical policies of DGCA. This includes the mandated breathalyzer test.
- Aviation Medicine Indoctrination of Crew – For their understanding as well as for the larger care of the passengers. This includes fatigue countermeasure among aircrew.
- First Aid Training.
- Human Factors (HF), including Crew Resource Management (CRM) – This is a value add to the present practice of in-house operational training in CRM by airlines to the broader Human Factors.
- Assessment of passengers for medical fitness to travel by air.
DGCA has shown foresight in its advise to the operators to hire the specialist who have undergone postgraduate studies in Aviation/Aerospace Medicine. Currently, such specialists undergo their studies at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bangalore. This Institute, administered by the Indian Air Force, offers the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in Aerospace/Aviation Medicine, under the aegis of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, India. The alumni of this prestigious institute are already serving in some of the airlines in India, besides a large number of dedicated practitioners of Military Aviation Medicine in the Indian Armed Forces. Few of the alumni are also serving abroad in different roles in this fascinating field as regulator, airport and airline health administrators, and aircrew training.
For once, it is ‘Jai Ho‘ DGCA! Now the moot question is, will the Airlines listen?
Acknowledgment Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons