Figuring out what causes its fighter pilots to make fatal errors in their cockpits, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has officially identified that Social Media could be posing a serious threat to flight safety.
In a strongly-worded communication to all of the Air Force’s combat flying squadrons in the country, the IAF’s chief of flight safety Air Marshal P.P. Reddy earlier in 2014 had expressed extreme concern over what he sees as an over-indulgence in social media by pilots and flying crew, leading to their lack of sleep and an erosion in their ability to focus. Air Marshal Reddy was deeply concerned over the unhealthy pre-occupation with social networking media and the tools which enable it.
The pilots need to exercise discretion to maintain a healthy balance between highly demanding profession and distractions like social networking media, mobiles and laptops to name a few. Top IAF sources revealed that a spate of at least four incidents, the first one in July 2012, has led to alarm within the flight safety directorate, ending in the unusually forthright missive from the IAF’s flight safety chief.
It is understood that the four incidents involved pilots reporting for flying duties without adequate rest, leading to informal internal inquiries that established they had spent late nights using their mobile phones and tablets to use Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social tools.