CFI Feature: Wing Commander (retd) Srikrishna (GMR-APFT)


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SrikrishnaThe “CFI Feature" features the Chief Flying Instructors of four flight schools in India: IGRUA (click), NFTI, Chimes Aviation Academy (click), and GMR-APFT (in no particular order). The first two institutes are managed by CAE, to a larger extent at NFTI due to CAE’s 49% ownership. The last two are academies that are more flexible, offering an exclusive PPL as well. All schools, save Chimes, have some foreign component in them, and all are dominantly Diamond Aircraft (DA-40 and DA-42) operators, except Chimes which operates Cessna 172s and a Piper Seneca IV. GMR-APFT has diesel engine Diamond DA-40s, and IGRUA will soon be a full-fledged, first of its kind aviation university. NFTI is known for its IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program.

This week, we focus on GMR-APFT’s CFI, who retired from the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a Wing Commander. He served the Air Force for over 24 years.

Wing Commander (retd) Srikrishna’s father was at HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) and used to bring home magazines like `Flight’ , and `Interavia’. As a kid he was fascinated by these glossy magazines and pictures of aircraft they contained. Reaching 10+2, he joined the Air Wing of NCC. During is stint at NCC, he was lucky to get about 40 launches in a glider and powered flying on Pushpak/Aeronca. After senior secondary schooling, he joined the NDA and followed the route into the Indian Air Force.

Srikrishna was a Qualified Flying Instructor while in the IAF and instructed on Kiran Jet trainers Mk I, Mk IA and Mk II. With more than 3900 instructional hours (6,000 total time) to his credit, Srikrishna is now the Chief Flying Instructor at GMR-APFT, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

GMR-APFT commenced operations as recently as June 2013.

1. What, according to you, are the traits that must be exhibited by a flight instructor?

Srikrishna: Amongst others, Patience, Punctuality, Professionalism, Integrity, & Empathy.

Additionally, a flying instructor needs to be mature and understanding. He must have a calm temperament and a lot of patience. His own flying skills must be of such high level that he can demonstrate manoeuvres to the required degree of accuracy.

2. Are there “natural", born instructors (those who have a natural flair for teaching), or is it something that can be picked up by anybody?

Srikrishna: In my opinion neither are there born instructors nor is it something that can be picked up by anybody. At best some pilots may have a flair for teaching and could become good instructors, if put through the paces of training as flight instructors. However, it is also true that good pilots may not necessarily mean they can become good instructors unless they have the requisite aptitude.

A flying instructor’s job can be taught. A natural flair would be of great help and make the task of teaching more likable and pleasant.

3. What is your take on General Aviation in India?

Srikrishna: Aviation Industry has been known to exhibit a cyclic behaviour. The demand rises, levels out and then falls only to rise again. In my opinion General Aviation in India is poised for a take off. Amongst the middle class in India, there is a fair amount of spare cash, and air travel, despite its higher cost as compared to countries in SE Asia is affordable and finds an increasing demand. Many Corporates are acquiring business travel aircraft. People are also interested in learning flying for pleasure. The outlook from now on is definitely bright.

4. Your opinion on fixed wing flying training in the country?

Srikrishna: Fixed wing training in India requires considerable overhaul. Many institutes undertaking training for CPL have only rudimentary infrastructure and marginal facilities.

5. If there is something you’d like to change in Indian aviation, what would it be?

Srikrishna: The training in India needs to be of world standards. DGCA must have more pilots in the Flying Training Directorate. In the Airworthiness Directorates there must be people who have actually worked on aircraft.

Note: All views of the CFI are personal, and do not necessarily reflect those of the flight school / institute / academy.

7 thoughts on “CFI Feature: Wing Commander (retd) Srikrishna (GMR-APFT)”

  1. A copilot in India Learns every day and he is told he does not know any thing 3 times a year.A Commander is known to all known’s, unknowns and unknown unknowns , is checked and told what he doesn’t know 3 times a year. A trainer has trained this commander and the trainer has been checked when… I don’t know…. .When was the trainer trained, does the trainer know how to train… Who is going to train the trainer. The answer exists but somewhere in the gazette of Indian aircraft rules 1937!

  2. aviator said:

    Lol. . Srikrishna sir talking of Patience and Temperament.

  3. Just one question – Why do most of CFI’s and Commercial Pilots have an Air Force background . Why dont they wanna serve their country anymore ? Because of money?? or do these people think they that they have served this country enough .This is very good attitude that we taxpayers pay 4 these so called “Air Force” Pilots for their training and qualification and these people then transit into commercial field 4 money and btw i am not just speaking about retired or aged Pilots but also even the young generation of Air Force Pilots.
    p.s – More than Air Force pilots my heart and respect goes to all the commercial Pilots, unemployed or employed for risking their money,personal and professional lives, and they are the real ones who are serving the country actually!

  4. @ rohit
    What have you been smoking??
    These air force officers have served their country for a long time and then when they have completed 20 yrs ,quit and get into the civil walk of life.
    A cpl holder flies a cessna 172 or similar a/c s and then jumps straights into a boeing or an airbus which are very comfortable to fly wheras do you have any idea as to how difficult it is to fly an il76 or a mig 21 ,i doubt it cause otherwise you would nt be posting such stupid the next time think before you post

  5. E kiran kumar said:

    Hy Vasuki Sir…

    I have a Query regarding the GMR APFT aircraft Diamond DA-40 , you have mentioned that it has got a diesel engine but it is refuelled with Jet A-1 Fuel .

    Could you please explain then why its called diesel engine, I tried to google it but couldnt get anything.

    Thank you.

    and Wish you an Advance Happy New Year… 🙂

    • A diesel engine is kind of engine, and does not mean that it needs to run off diesel. Jet A1 is used in a Jet Engine (A turboprop engine is also a Jet Engine), where the air is compressed, and ignited purely by the heat generated by the compression. A diesel engine works on a similar principle.

  6. @theflyingengineer
    Can you please tell me about GMR-APFT. How is this flight school overall? How are flying standards? Does flying on an international airport create any problem in training?
    Thank you. 🙂

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