By Ravi Ladduwahetty
Ceylon Finance Today: The Airline Pilot's Guild of Sri Lanka is preparing to call for the removal of SriLankan Airlines' Chief Operating Officer (COO) Capt. Druvi Perera following the damning report of the Board of Inquiry into the national carrier, Guild sources said. Aviation circles are buzzing with questions as to the continuation of Capt. Perera in that capacity in the wake of damning evidence found against him in the Weliamuna Report.
The report also refers to his ability not only as a pilot but also as an administrator.
The Weliamuna Report also said on Page 24 ...
Capt. Druvi Perera is the Chief Operating Officer [COO] and an experienced Captain who was involved in an incident at the Madras Airport – UL Flight 121. Based on the Incident report, the Civil Aviation Authority directed on...
...10th November 2008 to keep Capt. Druvi Perera away from line instrumental duties and utilize him only on line flying duties until the Civil Aviation Authority issued the Final Report.
The final report issued by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority reveals the following:
(i) Incident took place on 30th October 2008 where the aircraft outboard wheels had over run the runway edge lights;
(ii) As a result, 4 left main wheel tires had been damaged;
(iii) The aircraft moved 700 meters over running 12 runway edge lights and 12 runway edge lights were damaged.
(iv) Aircraft had landed in a crab angle with the nose pointing to right and the pitch rate was high at landing.
(v) The aircraft was flown by the First Officer who was on training.
(vi) The visibility was 300 meters and the airport had experienced heavy rain.
The Civil Aviation Authority found that:
(i) No attempt was made to align the aircraft with the runway, using the cross wing landing technique just before the plane touched ground;
(ii) The Instructor pilot should have taken over the control at the correct time or the crew should have initiated a 'go around;'
(iii) The probable cause as identifies by the Civil Aviation Authority was the lack of good judgement of the Instructor Pilot who was in command allowing the trainee First Officer to continue the aircraft landing under bad weather conditions.
(iv) It was also found that the trainee First Officer had used improper landing techniques.
We observed that information pertaining to this incident and the disciplinary actions taken are not found in the personal file of Druvi Perera. Druvi Perera admitted that there were no disciplinary action taken against him in respect of this incident, except to take him away from the Instructor Pilot duties on the direction of the Civil Aviation.
The Bol notes that Druvi Perera was appointed on 25th November 2009 as Simulator Instructor and his appointment as Head of Flight Operations has been extended w.e.f. 15th September 2008. ON 23rd July 2012, he was appointed as COO (Grade 13), a position designed anew.
The report also said on page 22 that Perera had co
mpromised professional standards of pilots. Under the topic – Attempt to lower pass marks of the simulator test for cadet pilots: it said:
The 2013 Cadet Pilot intake drew attention due to the resignation of the Chief Pilot (Training & Standards – T & S) Capt. Patrick Fernando and Deputy Chief Pilot (T & S) Ranga Amadoru. The issue involved was in relation to the pass mark required to pass the simulator evaluation examination that was fixed at 70 marks.
While the evaluation marks were being considered, there had been 'an external pressure' directed through the Chairman, towards the Chief Pilot T/S & Deputy Chief Pilot T/S, to reduce the pass mark to 65, in order to accommodate a few identified individuals. The Chairman's directive to reduce the pass mark may have emanated from certain political sources.
Neither the CEO nor the COO (together with the HHR), who had the main responsibility to prevent any undue influence or interference with the selection process of pilots, did anything meaningful to prevent such interference.
Capt. Fernando and Capt. Amadoru refused to act on the Chairman's direction and resigned from their position of Chief Pilot T& S and Deputy Pilot T & S respectively, thereby not compromising professional standards.
Their resignation effectively prevented the selection of unsuitable candidates in the 2013 Cadet Pilot intake. In view of their bold stand taken to protect professional standards, Bol recommends that they be commended.