Air Zim pilots in a fix

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Air Zimbabwe pilots, who have been on a month-long strike, are in a fix as it emerged their flying licences could be revoked if they continued with their industrial action.

NewsDay understands the pilots last week resolved to resume work to save their careers, which were being threatened by the long strike.

“There are rules governing pilots regarding flying failure of which if they do not fly for a certain period they will have their licences revoked and have to be retested,” a source said.

Acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga said: “We are still planning to resume flights as soon as possible, possibly this week. We are still trying to tie the loose ends in our negotiations.”

Pressed on whether this had anything to do with pilots fearing that their licences would be revoked, Mavhunga said: “There are a lot of technical details involved in flying and I wouldn’t want to get into them.”

Air Zimbabwe pilots downed tools on July 29, demanding payment of their June and July salaries.

A local aviation expert said pilots were subjected to regular tests to ensure that they were still capable of performing their duties competently.

“In most instances pilots’ licences are valid for six months after which they have to undergo tests. If, however, a pilot has not flown for about 90 days, they will undergo a simulator test.

“At the moment that equipment we do not have locally. Pilots operating long-haul planes will have to go to Ethiopia for testing while operators of small aircraft go to South Africa,” the expert said.

According to Wikipedia, flight simulation is described as an artificial re-creation of aircraft flight and various aspects of the flight environment. This includes the
equations that govern how aircraft fly,
how they react to applications of their controls and other aircraft systems and how they react to the external environment such as air density, turbulence, cloud, precipitation, etc.

Flight simulation is used for a variety of reasons, including flight training (mainly of pilots), for the design and development of the aircraft itself and for research into aircraft characteristics, control handling qualities and so forth.

The expert said the desire to return
to work by pilots could also have been
motivated by the need to safeguard their professional careers and the realisation
that the airline’s fortunes could only be turned around if it resumed operating
normally.