Mumbai: State-run Pawan Hans has joined hands with public sector chopper maker Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) to train helicopter pilots.
“We have just tied-up with HAL to train helicopter pilots. This is a first in the country as there is no training facility for chopper pilots. We will begin the course in Bengaluru in July,” Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director B P Sharma told.
However, he refused to divulge more details about the commercial side of the plan as well as how many students they will take in to train annually.
Pawan Hans is a joint venture where state-owned ONGC holds 49 per cent.
Sharma said that currently Pawan Hans fully depends on pilots from the Defence forces, especially the Air Force, to operate his fleet of 46 helicopters.
He said none of their 150-odd pilots are from the non-defence background. Most of the pilots are from the Air Force, Army and the Navy. Some are also from the Coast Guard.
The industry also depends on foreign pilots, while private operators and companies also get people trained overseas as there is no facility to train helicopter pilots in the country now, Sharma said.
There are 260 civilian helicopters in the country and so there is a large market for pilots.
“We will tell the students about cent per cent placement,” which is easily manageable considering the large demand in the market, he said.
Over the past week, Pawan Hans also tied-up with Mumbai University to offer a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering along with a course on aircraft maintenance engineering from the next academic session.
The course will be offered to 60 students and will be impacted by professionals from Pawan Hans Helicopter Training Institute, while it will be monitored by the Garware Institute of Career Education & Development. (PTI)