Inexperience not major cause of fighter plane crashes : Antony

New Delhi : Contradicting the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, defence minister A.K. Antony Monday said in the Lok Sabha that inexperience of pilots is not one of the major reasons for aircraft accidents.

He told the house that 30 combat planes and 10 helicopters have crashed in the last four years.

The minister said in a written reply that the government is taking steps to train pilots to prevent air crashes due to human error.

On Air Force Day Oct 8 this year, the IAF chief, Norman Anil Kumar Browne, had tsaid the recent spate of MiG crashes was due to the inexperience of pilots in all but one case this year.

Antony said during the three years from April 1, 2008 to Dec 3, 2011, 30 fighter aircraft, including 16 MiG-21s, and 10 IAF helicopters had crashed.

Twenty-six defence personnel, including 13 pilots, lost their lives in the accidents. Six civilians were also killed.

“The main causes for the accidents were human error and technical defects,” Antony said .

On the phase-out of aging aircraft, Antony said the decision is taken based on various factors, including residual life of the plane and operational considerations.

The fleet, he said, is reviewed by the government from time to time, and this is a continuous process.

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