geeth wrote: This is because the IAF is dominated by fighter pilots and they are incapable of appeciating what technology is all about. I may sound rude..but the reason why they are not able to.appeciate is, their education level is only that much. What would you expect from a person who join NDA after +2 and is trained to fly? Some of these guys have some kind of inferiority complex too..you would find it funny to hear standard statements like "you zee I got admission to IIT also..but I chose NDA" I used to believe it initially..but then, when you hear it too often, it leaves a lingering doubt. Iam not saying this to offend anyone..but it is a fact.
But Seriously - yes there are some - IIT quit join IAF types - hardcore flyboys (but very few). We also have some Engineering officers (mostly old) from IIT. It is more true for even courses of NDA where straight out of school one appears both for IIT and NDA. Some people are 'plane' crazy for flying, more so for fighter flying. It is true. Fire in the A$$ - as some say.
However, it does not matter. IAF has ex NDAs and Direct Entries mixed intake in all flying streams. Plus given the work profile NDA training does not give any additional advantages. So there is no bias towards ex NDAs. Neither did I feel any strong ex NDA / non ex NDA grouping anywhere, if it even exists. BTW, some Direct Entry pilots I know are part engineers as they left their engineering courses midway. Maybe there are a few full engineers too. BTW, quite a few pilots will surprise you with their know - how in the technology scene.
Next, the serious studies or academic pursuits start only once you start flying. And then it is intense. I can assure you that if you are not studying regularly, you will be categorized as weak aircrew and will not go ahead. Even a non techie (BA) like me would occasionally sit with Resnik Halidays / Irodov's etc out of interest and not out of necessity. I had a senior who wouldn't quit till we solved his riddles and puzzles. Scientific Temper
Trust me, a current IAF pilot will list out all practically all that is discussed here in Aerodynamics, Aeroengines, Navigation, Metereology, Aviation Medicine, etc, etc. While doing exercises with foreign Air Forces, a particular theme resonated as a feedback from the foreigners - You guys are too deep in theory. BTW, I think I was among the last of the breed. Now all pilots have to do BSC, ex NDA or not.
Again, as a rule, for a young pilot or a pilot fresh on type, CO's and Flt Cdr's are going to make life difficult till the 'noob' knows the aircraft backwards, its systems blindfold and has enough time with the ground crew to know turning which screw does what. I have spent hours in the sun just sitting on top of a Mi 17 (and this will extend to respective pilots on their types) in sun and dry heat even in Jodhpur with my groundcrew, seeing them turn the 04 screws that they were allowed to get the engines up to the desired power levels.
In the IAF at least, deriving Lift= CeeEll* 1/2RowVeesquared*Ess is just the start and continues on to understanding why the 7th stage of the compressor is bled from the engine for the airconditioner or the KO 50 heater. Don't ask me to list out because I have forgotten most of it. What I do remember is the number of aeroengines I have see open and also how the BRDs and TETRA schools would cut open the engines to teach us pilots what is what. Our tests would include making circuit diagrams complete with relays and cut outs for all the major systems. The technical familiarity then has to be repeatedly shown through tests with three independent examining bodies - the AEB, the CASI and the real boss log DASI. Ofcourse, in the mean time all pilots will regularly make presentations on all technical systems and any new developments in the field of Aviation.
I remember, a unit pilot going for his exam for selection in to the Test Pilot course was preparing a presentation on Ring Laser gyro where he was presenting the case of ZeroDer as a material for the RLG. I was his audience for all his practice presentation back in 2001 (IIRC). The said gentleman is an ex-NDA. I say this to point out that looking at this as lack of technical knowledge will be wrong as it is one thing that IAF prides itself, be it Fighters, Helicopters, Transports, UAV's, Missiles etc.
IMO, the problem lies elsewhere and here it is purely conjecture on my part. The best and the intellectual kinds rarely make it to the top. Most end up as Test Pilots and get absorbed by HAL. Very few move back. Those who come back find themselves competing with QFI's, FCLs, FSLs etc and here too the winner is the one who toed the boss's line. Very rarely does some sharp mind make it past Group Captain stage.
Most who go up are like one retired gent whom we keep discussing here. Loud, egoistic and lacking depth in any knowledge beyond flight ops (for the level they rise to). The serious thinkers any way manage to come up with enough discordant thoughts to get disqualified by the boss.
Even among those who rise, the IAF has spectacularly managed to find the not so 'sharp' chief. I mean even in recent years between the Chiefs we had and those who missed the bus, IAF would at least have benefited if likes of AM (Retd) Patni or AM (Retd) 'Jimmy' Bhatia had worn the mantle. Instead, they too fell to the wayside.
geeth wrote:One possible solution is to recruit Engineering graduates as pilots. I have come across couple of captains in executive branch of Navy and I understand from my colleagues their approach & reaction to technical issues are more positive. It seems they understand better and are more cooperative. Yeah..comparing Parrikar vs St. Antony.
Broadly, I agree with the direction of your solutions. But instead of Engineer Pilots, I think, that our Engineering Officers are extremely well qualified to represent the IAF while it works with agencies like HAL. Instead of a pilot let the lead be in the hand of an Engineering Officer. With ASTE available and working with HAL, and Test Pilots working with these organisations regularly, I do not think the complaint is that these pilots do not understand technical nuances.
The issue is what the top level folks at IAF are doing and how are they treating this relationship.
Unfortunately, since the level of 'pleasers' who rise is very shallow, their act is also shallow. Instead of doing what is right for the IAF, they are basically doing what is right for themselves and their 'boys' and hence one fighter pilot makes way for the other.
P.S.: Please do not use this post to paint everyone there is at the top. In between are men who are really brilliant. Sorry, for long ramble but I thought I must jump in here.