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40% of Pakistani pilots hold fake flying licenses: Aviation Minister

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40% of Pakistani pilots hold fake flying licenses: Aviation Minister

Old 25th Jun 2020, 10:51
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40% of Pakistani pilots hold fake flying licenses: Aviation Minister

Pakistani Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan broke the shocking news that around 40% of Pilots in Pakistan have fake pilot licenses.The startling news about the ‘fake’ Pilots was released amid the presentation of the provisional inquiry report in the National Assembly of Pakistan about the recent Pakistan International Airline (PK) crash near Karachi. There are currently 860 active Pilots in Pakistan. This includes PIA, Serene Air (ER), and Air Blue (PA). Mr. Khan stated that “The inquiry which was initiated in February 2019 showed that 262 Pilots did not take the exam themselves” and that they had asked someone else to sit the exam on their behalf.

He also said that they have found out during the investigation that Pilots with ‘fake’ licenses did not even have proper flying experience. The 40% of ‘fake’ pilots also include hundreds who are not currently active. It was further revealed that pilots were also appointed on a “political basis” and that “Merit was ignored while appointing Pilots.” It was also claimed that degrees of at least four PIA Pilots had been found to be fake, according to Pakistan media. The Aviation Minister said that an inquiry had been initiated in this regard and that show-cause notices have been issued to 54 Pilots. It was claimed that some of these Pilots have challenged these notices in court.

So far, at least nine pilots have confessed to holding fake degrees.
Source: https://airwaysmag.com/industry/paki...ilot-licenses/
This might not come as a shock to most but 40% is way more than anticipated.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 11:03
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The consequences of such a revelation can easily put the kibosh on any flights by Pakistani airlines into a number of countries. Not to mention insurance premiums going through the roof.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 11:10
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Probably not just in Pakistan either, fair bet that a few other countries have similar.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 11:39
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I used to work with a Pakistani man who told me that one of his relatives had moved to UK using his brother's passport and degree certificate and was living and working in UK as a civil engineer despite never having graduated. Is there any way to combat such things? I doubt it.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 12:17
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When I was in Doha constructing Hamad Airport, there were a lot of tipper truck drivers on site. Because of their terrible safety record, one day our chief "elf' decided to do a spot check on driving licenses and found them all carrying photocopies of the same one.

Would it surprise anybody that it was in the name of Singh
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 12:21
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Hehe, I find it hilarious in the context of recent surge of complaints in this forum that more often than not there is notion of "cultural factors" when accidents occurs where pilot error was a root cause.
Here you go in own words of Pakistani minister.

This is the best part of CNN coverage:
"PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses, effective immediately."
Sounds like they knew about the issue and apparently even had a list but until yesterday took no action.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 12:29
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Hey posters, I know that with this story, it'll be difficult, but please comment the news story, and the facts, while avoiding general culture or racist comments, okay? Regardless of feelings some posters may have, we do have to try to stay within the PPRuNe rules.

Thanks in advance for your effort to reduce modding work!
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 13:01
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de minimus non curat lex
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The Inquiry began in February 2019 and has identified 262 pilots who had someone else to sit the exams.
I assume this is referring to the written exams? “Proper” flying experience was also lacking.
And yet only 54 individuals have been issued with “show-cause notices”.
40% (344) of the 860 pilots hold ‘fake’ licences many of which are not currently flying.

This is an astonishing situation and brings the integrity of the whole system into question.

The UK has not been immune from such activity albeit on a much smaller scale.
The UK CAA successfully prosecuted an individual in 2001 who had done a huge amount of “Parker pen” flying for UK CAA licence issue.
9 months suspended sentence & £4000 costs at Hove Crown Court.
His licence was revoked.
Clock set to ZERO with all previous experience null and void.

Swearing an affidavit to confirm hours flown should your logbook go “missing” is no longer accepted in isolation by the CAA.
[ Moral of the story ~ keep your logbook at home in a book shelf. A burglar is hardly likely to steal it, whereas a car broken into for a flight bag......?]
Clearly this was open to abuse by some individuals without integrity and honesty.

Then there was a psychiatric who faked medical qualifications in the UK (1995) from New Zealand.
A fraud trial in 2018 brought matters to light.
Needless to say verification procedures are now far more water tight.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 13:10
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Just saw this on AP:

Pakistan to ground 150 pilots for cheating to get licenses

June 25, 2020 - By MUNIR AHMED 40 minutes ago


ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s state-run airline said Thursday it will ground 150 pilots, accusing them of obtaining licenses by having others take exams for them after a probe into last month’s crash that killed 97 people in Karachi.


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Old 25th Jun 2020, 13:18
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Are we allowed to refer to news articles published in the region ? This one is a real eye opener.

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Old 25th Jun 2020, 13:25
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR
while avoiding general culture or racist comments, okay?
But the culture has a lot to do with the issue of fake licences! Just sayin'.......... Of course, they can be also be found in many different cultures in many different countries. BUT 150 or so at the flag carrier???? No point hiding under a rock for fear of offending people. Killing over a hundred in the PIA accident is the really offensive thing!!
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 13:41
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post
... but please comment the news story, and the facts, while avoiding general culture or racist comments, okay? Regardless of feelings some posters may have, we do have to try to stay within the PPRuNe rules.
Corporate culture - or organizational culture - is often informed by the meta culture (the overarching cultural context). Attitudes and behaviors do not occur in a vacuum. This can all be discussed professionally, to be sure, rather than like a bunch of mates in the pub with a few pints in them. Beyond that, most cultures are slow to change, though the Korean example at their flag carrier shows that where there is a will, there is a way.
I recall there being some internal cultural transition problems in the Navy culture I flew in (early 80's) as the hard CRM lessons that had been learned in the airlines were being folded into our multi-pilot crew training. In time, it became the norm, not 'something new.' But it didn't happen overnight.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 14:06
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We seem to be stuck on a specific airline in the thread title rather than the more general concern of the spread of fake credentials.

I'm not sure if this is a PIA crash investigation thread or a more general concern across all airlines.

As a passenger I can avoid a specific airline until the issue is under correction but general condemnation confuses me.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 14:53
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India isn’t going to be much better. A central Florida flight school was renting out cessnas and warriors to Indian nationals who held pilots licenses. They were time building. 3 chaps would take off together in the same plane and all log solo PIC. They were discovered when they all went to another flight school to do their Multi and someone made the observation that they all had same flights, same day, same destination, same tail number.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 14:55
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People in that region want "something without putting the effort in" to achieve it. Be interesting if they go checking engineer exams/licences as well.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 15:01
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Originally Posted by esscee View Post
Probably not just in Pakistan either, fair bet that a few other countries have similar.
From the Washington Post:

Indian arrests reveal corruption in granting of pilot licenses

By Rama Lakshmi

April 17, 2011

NEW DELHI — An Indian pilot made news here in January when she landed an Airbus 320 passenger plane on its nose wheel. Investigators soon discovered several alarming things: Parminder Kaur Gulati had not only made that dangerous mistake before, she also had earned her senior pilot’s license through fake grades.

Worse still, she had plenty of company.

A government-ordered investigation has exposed a nationwide network of flight schools, aviation officials and others routinely forging grade sheets, fudging logbooks and accepting bribes. The revelation that some unqualified aspirants have made it into the cockpit is just one of a string of scandals that have roiled India in the past six months, but it is among the most serious, potentially endangering the lives of thousands.

“It is worrying that people could get away with it for so long,” said E.K. Bharat Bhushan, India’s director general of civil aviation, showing files of fraudulent grade sheets. “These look so real. It really shakes you.”

Bhushan said he would not describe India’s skies as unsafe, noting, “These are only a handful of our 8,000 certified pilots.” Still, 29 pilots — including Gulati — have lost their licenses and 14 people have been arrested in the wake of the January incident, as officials comb through files from the past five years, scrutinizing the grades of more than 1,700 pilots and auditing 40 flight schools.

India’s airline industry expanded rapidly during that period. From 2009 to 2010 alone, passenger traffic grew by 19 percent. There were more than 51 million domestic passengers last year, and many of them used the numerous low-fare airlines that have sprung up.

The boom also triggered a rush among India’s youths for lucrative jobs as pilots.

“So many flying schools opened in the boom time,” Bhushan said. “There was a lot of competition, but hardly any oversight.”

To graduate from an Indian aviation school, students must log 200 hours of flying time, then pass four written tests. That qualifies them for a commercial pilot’s license, which allows them to work as a co-pilot. To take command of an aircraft, they have to fly 1,500 hours and take additional written tests, which officials say 30 percent of candidates pass.

“The questions in the tests are theoretical, irrelevant and chosen by bureaucrats who have never touched the controls of the aircraft,” said a senior pilot who works for government-owned Air India and spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing his job. “This is why so many resort to faking their test results. It’s a well-oiled machinery. Flying hours cannot be fudged without the active connivance of aerodrome officials, aviation fuel suppliers, flying instructors and government officials. The rot affects the entire system — from top to the bottom.”

Pilots suspended in the past month worked for Air India and the private airlines SpiceJet and IndiGo, Gulati’s employer.

“We have busted two organized gangs from six cities that ran this racket of fudging test marks and booked them for cheating and forgery,” said Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner of police in New Delhi’s crime department. “The pilots’ licenses have been canceled, but the court has granted them bail.”

Chand said the average bribe paid by aspiring pilots for a forged grade sheet was about $15,000. In India, cheating carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

The civil aviation minister, Vayalar Ravi, told the Parliament that a committee has been formed to develop tougher standards for verifying pilots’ test grades and licenses. He also said that online testing may soon be an option, as part of the effort to limit the opportunities for tampering. The committee’s report is expected by the end of the month.
“The questions in the tests are theoretical, irrelevant and chosen by bureaucrats who have never touched the controls of the aircraft,” said a senior pilot who works for government-owned Air India and spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing his job.
If you've ever taken a CAA-style written exam you can certainly relate to this statement.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 15:15
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So they admit these appalling statistics which likely means the reality is double the number, and having encountered some of these "highly qualified" individuals nothing would surprise me.

One thing for sure - nothing will change.
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 15:49
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Fake FAA licenses are rare in my experience. However every U.S. airline seems to have tales from the training building of folks using the wrong 'gouge' for the systems test and all flunking a la Animal House. Or, a story of the guy who stole the test from an instructor's desk and then jammed the Xerox machine in the schoolhouse trying to copy it (hey, at least I went to Zappo's to make the copies ).

Here's a pilot test cheating scandal that made headlines three decades ago.

A long while back there was a cheating scandal at the Air Force Reserve F-16 unit at Homestead AFB near MIA. One of the guys in the unit was a fed and would give out the written tests, leave a copy of the answer sheet on the desk and leave the room. Even fighter pilots could now pass the writtens for ATP, FE and dispatcher.

Somehow word leaked out and the whole scheme collapsed with grand jury indictments and military discipline proceedings.

Don't know if anyone did hard time in this one but one of my friends (callsign 'JR') unnamed in the NYT article below, had his ATP, but not his FE ticket, pulled by the FAA. Our airline let him downbid to FE where he laid low until the FAA let him retake the exams a couple of years later. I'm told some of these folks at other carriers were fired, it probably depended on how many F-16 drivers were in the chief pilot's office.

Here's a news article on this earlier case of license fraud:

U.S. Charges Cheating Plot at Air Base - New York Times
Former Tradewinds A300 pilot finally jailed for FAA fraud
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 16:03
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I once had 2 experienced captains in the sim from that general direction - it was glaringly obvious that something was amiss . I don't believe that they had ever flown the type of aircraft they had thousands of hours in and made a report to highlight the issue . Never heard anymore after it .
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Old 25th Jun 2020, 16:16
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As long as they have a piece of paper ( licence ) with their name on it, then as far as they are concerned they are now someone entitled and it does not matter one bit how that has been achieved.
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