April 22, 2019 | 12:24 AM IST

Indian Air Force planes to have doctor pilots

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall B.S. Dhanoa on Friday said that social media addiction is affecting IAF pilot as they are being deprived of adequate sleep for flying duty. "Much dependence on social media is taking away interpersonal and communication skills of our pilots. Earlier, if a pilot had too many drinks, the bar man would know. If he did not notice, others would know and the affected pilot would be laid off flying for the day. We need a system that can tell us if a pilot has been sleep deprived," Dhanoa said at a conference here.
Dhanoa further added that having flying doctors would improve aviators' efficiency as they face new challenges and new aircraft today. He has moved the proposal for the Defence Ministry's approval in what would be a return to a 40-year-old practice. Inaugurating the 57th annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine here, Dhanoa told the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) to develop a method to ascertain if a pilot was deprived of mandatory sleep.
As flight briefings are held very early in the day (around 6:00 a.m.) when the ambient temperature is above 40 degree Celsius, the pilots have to sleep early overnight and rest enough to be fresh and alert for flying sorties. “We need to have more filters and mechanisms developed to deal with the excessive usage of social media, leading to anxiety and health issues," added Dhanoa. "I request doctors to find a quick solution for the problem," he noted.

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