National Civil Aviation Training Centre at Allahabad was closed in the year 1962. Task of Commercial Pilot Training fell on the shoulders of Flying Clubs. Flying Clubs were basically equipped only to handle PPL training. As no other institute existed for CPL training this become the only option available. Soon it was realized by the Airlines that the product they received from the flying clubs mostly failed to satisfy their needs. There was far too much technological, skill and knowledge gap between what they needed and what they got. Our late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, himself an airline pilot, understood this perfectly and ordered the setting up of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA). The Government letter issued on 12 Sep 1986 authorizsing the establishment of IGRUA stated:- “Creation of an appropriate infrastructure for bringing about the desired improvement in the training of pilots, which, in turn, would result in qualitative improvements in the capabilities of Commercial Pilots and enhance the safety of aircraft operations”.
It further stated “Government has approved the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in the country for the training of commercial pilots on the lines of educational institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and All Indian Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and which will be established (designated as Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi) at Fursatganj, District Raebareli (Uttar Pradhesh)”.
IGRUA in pursuance of these directions was set up with the best single engine training aircraft (French Socata TB 20), the best multi engine (Beechcraft King Air C90A) aircraft and its associated six axis motion Simulator. The airfield also has its own nav & landing aids (ILS, VOR & DME). Such facilities remain unparalleled even today.
In the initial years, PPL holders from Flying Clubs would compete for entry into IGRUA where they would be provided institutionalised airline oriented training upto Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) and additionally multi engine rating and instrument rating. In the recent past ab-initio to CPL courses have also started. The yearly output from IGRUA was about 20 CPLs per year – sufficient for our two national carriers Air India and Indian Airlines. Both these airlines have paid yearly grants to IGRUA in return for assured supply of quality product.
The open sky policy of 2005, and the rapid expansion of our airline industry forced the Government to have a relook at IGRUA with a view to upgrade it. The result is new acquisitions of 14 glass cockpit Diamond DA 40 single engine trainers and 2 multi engine DA 42 trainers along with their FNPT simulator devices. More infrastructure has been created and the old are upgraded. Management of IGRUA was handed over to the international training giant CAE in 2008. Today IGRUA graduates 80 CPL holders per year and will soon touch 100. IGRUA product continues to be in heavy demand with the airlines.Aviation circles consider IGRUA to be the IIT of Aviation Training.
IGRUA completed 25 years on 12 Sep 11. The grand Silver Jubilee celebration was attended by the Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation Shri Vayalar Ravi, Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament, Shri Satish Sharma, Member of Parliament, Shri SNA Zaidi, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation & other membersof IGRUA Governing Council. The future vision for IGRUA was announced from the dais. Photos, Videos and the elements of IGRUA NextGen and its future plans are all available in other sections of this website.
On 5th Oct 12, IGRUA celebrated its Graduation Ceremony wherein Shri. K.N. Shrivastava, Chairman, IGRUA Governing Council/Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, commended the trainees for their excellence in Ground Training, Flying Training as well to overall best cadets. Cadets completed the training were also awarded Graduation Certificate. Photos on the events may be seen
at Photo Galary
on IGRUA website.
Air Marshal (Retd.)