POKHARA, Nov 18: It has been found that some paragliding pilots fly in the skies of Pokhara despite having some health problems. During a test conducted recently, some pilots with serious health problems were barred from flying. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has banned pilots with health problems from flying for at least six months.
According to Mukesh Raj Dahal, a manager of CAAN, it has been found during the health examination that some pilots have health issues. "In order to make paragliding safe and orderly, some pilots who have been found to have problems during the health check-up have been told not to fly until their health condition improves," Dahal said, "Pilots who do not have any health issue can fly."
After the death of athlete Nisim Thapa Magar in an accident during the paragliding competition under the Ninth National Games competition, CAAN banned paragliding flights in the skies of Pokhara. Although the authority has given permission for tandem flights after the investigation, solo flights in the skies of Pokhara have not started yet. While resuming the flight that was stopped after the accident, the authority said that all the paragliders who fly should be tested on the conditions with the umbrella organization of the paragliding business, National Aeronautic Association (NAA). The pilots then underwent a medical examination.
According to Dahal, 270 pilots underwent health examinations conducted by CAAN doctors. Of them, 240 had no health problems. The rest of the pilots had some health problems. He said that the pilots with general health problems were given one month's time. The pilot's health was examined by a team of doctors under the coordination of Dahal himself.
Dahal said that the pilots who have general problems now will undergo a health examination again after a month and if they do not report any problems, they will be allowed to fly. The authority has also decided to disqualify pilots who do not undergo medical examination within 15 days. He said that pilots will not be allowed to fly unless being tested by the health personnel designated by the authority.
According to sources, some pilots have heart problems. Pilots with heart problems have been instructed to undergo a check-up with a cardiologist. Similarly, 12 pilots were found to have weak eyesight. They are made to follow up for a health check-up after one month. Similarly, during the medical examination of some pilots, there have been reports of pilots using drugs. Those pilots found using drugs will be suspended from flying for six months and will be re-examined after six months. Sources said that they will be allowed to fly only after the report of their health examination.
“Consumption of drugs was confirmed during the health examination. Such pilots have been banned from flying for six months," the source said. "After six months, if there is no problem reported, they will be allowed to fly."
Similarly, deafness has been found in four pilots. They are also banned from flying for six months. Similarly, seven pilots who cannot distinguish colors with their eyes have also been suspended for six months. These pilots will also be allowed to fly if their health improves after six months of re-examination. “Some pilots are stopped from flying for the time being. After their health improves, they can fly again,” a source said. After finding health problems in pilots, the authority has now prepared to conduct random tests.
President of NAA, Sunil Bhattarai also said that some pilots had health problems during the tests. According to him, the pilots had problems in their eyes, ears and hearts. It has also been confirmed that some pilots use drugs. Bhattarai said that the authority has decided to ban the pilots who have health problems from flying for a few months. According to him, now pilots who fail the health test will not be allowed to fly.
“Time has been given to the pilots who missed the first phase to participate in the health examination after giving the reason. A pilot who cannot cite a valid reason for the first test will now have to wait for the second,” according to Bhattarai. As many as 375 pilots have received licenses for paragliding flights on the recommendation of the NAA, but not all of them participated in the health examination. Some have stopped flying regularly and some have not undergone the health check-ups.
Paragliding businessmen have said that the authority has taken steps to make paragliding, which is the jewel of Pokhara, safe and orderly. Even a four-wheeled vehicle on the ground does not stop at the designated place when brakes are applied, but paragliding means flying in the sky," said a businessman, "To fly despite health problems is to take risks. Apart from that, there were complaints of drug consumption from time to time. The purification campaign has just begun. This is a positive aspect.”