Why should the pilot fly a defective aircraft?

It is against common sense: 'Why should a pilot fly a defective aircraft and risk his and passengers' lives?'.

Both in the military as well as civil aviation, pilots are forced to fly defective aircraft. Many times pilots force the engineers and technicians to certify a defective aircraft as OK i.e. airworthy.

In Air Force/civil aviation, pilots do not like those engineers/technicians who say 'this aircraft is not OK. It cannot fly'. Pilots always want to hear,"Yes sir, everything is bang-on".

I say this from my experience/interaction over 3 decades of my life.

Many pilots are ambitious and want to clock as many flying hours as possible. They don't mind taking the risk. They just love flying and want to fly the aircraft at all costs. Very enthusiastic!

Many pilots are 'yes-men'. They want to please their bosses/management/ministers. Recently I met a Chief Pilot of Punjab Govt. He had the guts to tell the GOI Minister who was to fly," Sir, we cannot fly. The weather is bad". The arrogant minister did not like this and tried to bully the pilot. However this pilot had the moral courage and he did not obey the unlawful command of the foolish Minister. But not all the pilots display such moral courage.

Many engineers/technicians (human beings) are 'yes-men'. They don't want to earn the wrath of the pilot/boss/commanding officer by saying that so and so aircraft is defective.

Many times the commanding officer wants to impress the higher-ups that 100% aircraft are 'serviceable'. So pilots are told not to put the defects in writing.

I share here a story of young Air Force Pilot. He was a MiG pilot.
A dynamic youngster who was fond of Gym. I used to meet him at the Air Force Gym.

One day I heard the tragic news that he died in a crash at Pokhran Range while dropping the bomb. His aircraft just could not pull-up after the dive and the aircraft went into the ground.

The crashed aircraft had an old recurring autopilot/pitching defect which was not entered in the Form 700. Had the defect been written in the authorised form, the aircraft could not have been offered for flying and must have gone to the workshop for repairs. But the commanding officer/Flight Commander had instructed pilots not to put down the defect.

Had the pilots shown the moral courage of not flying the defective aircraft, such a tragedy could have been averted.

My dear friends, we Indians are experts in manipulation and we lack moral courage to say 'No' especially when the 'No' makes sense and can save the precious lives.

Similar things are happening in civil aviation. Recently 5 people died in an air crash at Mumbai.
One of the flying crew had told her father that she was going to fly a sick aircraft. The readers can refer to the links given below:-



The manipulation is done even with students at the University level.
Recently I checked the practical file of the subject 'Aerodynamics Lab' of the students.
The students told me that only one experiment had been done. However the file showed 6-8 experiments having been done.

Why did the teacher not take up the issue that none of the experiment/equipment was working? The teacher was more worried about his survival/bread and butter than the truth.
The teacher should have shown greater moral courage and not resorted to manipulation.

Most of the students have been given very good grades in the 'Aerodynamics Lab'. Inside their heart the students know that they know hardly anything about the subject.
So what kind of engineers these students can be expected to become? Will they be competent?

Students pay hefty fees to the University and expect good learning/teaching. But what do they get? Is it not manipulation by the concerned teachers/authorities when they fudge the records or when they give more marks after having taught the subject badly or not having taught it at all?

The entire system seems to be full of manipulation. The honest/sincere/straight-forward people find it difficult to survive. The manipulators flourish and never get caught even when they cause air crashes.

Thanks to the selfish and the manipulators, many innocent people get killed in air crashes.


  1. It's a true scenario now-a-days. We don't take success as worth of giving our best,we just focus on the easier ways of achieving it,no matter what is at stake. Moral values have no grounds in technical world. We should learn to be grounded to our koral roots when we are stepping on the ladders of achieving our aims. That's how we can become a true engineer

  2. Via e-mail from Veteran Group Captain S Mondal

    You are absolutely correct Arvind.
    Any Engineer be it Armed Forces or civil if brings out flight safety issues and holds an aircraft for flying, he would surely be branded as negative attitude and not fit for operational commitment.

  3. Pilot killed after MiG 21 fighter jet crashes in Himachal.


    The IAF has been grappling with rising incidents of accidents involving its flying platforms.

    Replying to a question on incidents of air crash, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre told the Lok Sabha that a total of 25 accidents involving IAF aircraft were reported since 2015-16.

    According to data provided by him, a total of 39 people died in the accidents and that IAF lost all the aircraft involved in the crashes.

    He said there were five accidents involving aircraft of the Army during the period in which four people were killed.

    On June 5, an air commodore of the IAF died when the Jaguar fighter jet he was piloting crashed in Gujarat's Kutch district.

    Two IAF pilots were killed in a crash of a microlight aircraft in Assam's Majuli on February 15.

    A Mi-17 helicopter of the IAF had crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on October 6 last year, killing seven military personnel on board.

  4. What is the difference between an aircraft and an aeroplane?

  5. Thank you so much sir for sharing your valuable experience.


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