The changing nature of flight operations, coupled with a social media addiction among young pilots, is among the challenges the Indian aviation medicine is struggling to address because it has become a neglected field, said the chief of the Indian Air Force.
“We have not done enough for the people of aviation medicine in terms of service. We need to look at why youngsters today are not taking up aviation medicine as a default field. We may sugarcoat the reasons but it is clear that this is because it offers little in the way of career growth and a lack of super-specialisation,” Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria said at the 58th edition of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine’s annual conference.
The Air Chief Marshal credited the ongoing efforts of people working in the realm of Indian aerospace medicine with maintaining the combat effectiveness of the Air Force, but added he was compelled to restart a pilot-physician programme which was mentioned in last year’s edition of the conference by Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, now retired.
The programme, which was discontinued nearly four decades ago, will instal a serving pilot who is also a specialised physician within every squadron, to overview the health of pilots within the unit.
Social media addiction
Bhadauria said increased proliferation of technological devices had made it easier for young pilots to become addicted to social media, so much so that many of them are losing sleep.
“We have to find ways of discouraging young pilots to stay away from this later at night. We have to find ways to recognise who hasn’t had much sleep. The aircraft available today are such, the kind of mission that are being carried out, are long-duration.
In an earlier age, combat used to last three minutes, now pilots are expected to carry out repeated sorties. These are (the) challenges that are new and they are something that needs to be solved,” Bhadauria said.