Indian pilots grounded amid the fury of perilous coffee break


March 17, 2023 | 1:20 p.m.

Two Indian airline SpiceJet pilots are in hot water for precariously balancing a cup of coffee uncovered near the plane’s thrust levers after an image of the java and pastry feast in the cockpit emerged gone viral.

Dismayed aviation experts noted that if the coffee had spilled, the plane’s controls could have been affected.

“The central plinth is not a table. Even the slightest turbulence and coffee/spillover on the electronics, it clogs the systems. This is (a) CRIMINAL act,” tweeted Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation security expert who shared the photo.

The faces of the captain and first officer are not shown in the image, which shows the SpiceJet-branded paper cup sitting on the console as they contain fried pastries called gujiyas.

Sweets are a staple during the Hindu festival of Holi, which took place on March 8.

Two Indian SpiceJet pilots have been grounded after this image went viral of them talking about a dangerous coffee break – with a full cup placed dangerously on the controls.

The pilots were apparently celebrating the holiday on a domestic flight from Delhi to the northeast city of Guwahati as they flew at 37,000ft, The Times of India reported.

On Tuesday, India’s Civil Aviation Authority asked the airline to identify the pilots and take disciplinary action against them.

“Both pilots have been removed from the list pending an investigation. SpiceJet has a strict in-cockpit food consumption policy which is adhered to by all flight crew,” a spokesperson for the company said. airline to the media.

The airline said it “has a strict food consumption policy inside the cockpit, which is adhered to by all flight crew.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken upon completion of the investigation,” the representative added.

Retired pilot Shakti Lumba, the former chief operating officer of Indian carrier IndiGo, told CNN that the pilots’ “feel-good social media photoshoot” was “immature” and “undesirable.”

“It was totally inexplicable behavior. All pilots are aware of the dangers of spilled liquids in the cockpit,” he said, adding that most company and aviation rules prohibit placing food and liquids there.

Indian aviation regulations allow pilots to have food and drink in the cockpit, but under strict guidelines, including the need to have lids and be placed on trays to prevent spills, reported the BBC.

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