Govt’s only flight school turning students away

A file photograph of the Jakkur aerodrome near Yelahanka. dh Photo/ Janardhan B K

The only state-run flight school — Government Flying Training School, Jakkur — is facing a severe staff crunch. This has created a huge backlog in student intake.

Now, the institute is turning students away. The lone instructor at the institute has been holding meetings with the government since 2015 to hire more trainers, but in vain.

Thanks to the backlog, the school has decided entrance exams will be held only once a year. Till the last academic year (2018), entrance exams were held through the year. The minimum qualification will continue to be class 12.

This is the only state-run flight school in Karnataka. There is another in Mysuru, but private.

Since last seven years there has been just a chief flying instructor at the school — retired Wing Commander Amarjeet Singh Dange. There is also one ground attendant to assist Dange.

Wg Cdr Dange said: “I put a request to the government in 2015 to hire more staff and increase the wages, so that more can apply. But the request is still pending. So, now we have decided to be stricter on the intake.”

In the last seven years, of the 48 students, only six have completed the course and have got licences. Training of four students will be completed by August.

The institute receives over 12 applications everyday. But now, whenever inquiries are made, the institute is diverting students to other private institutes.

Captain Amar Nath, who runs a private ground training institute in the city, acknowledged the shortage of trainers and said the existing ones are overburdened.

Students who approach private institutes are given ground training in India and are then sent abroad for flight training.

Meanwhile, officials at the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports said: “There is a shortage of pilots across India and it is a matter of concern. It is being discussed with the ministry and the government and a decision is yet to be taken.”

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