…warns airlines over doctoring CVR
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has said that inappropriate landing techniques used and non-adherence to company procedures by pilots of a Caverton Helicopter chartered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led to the accident in Okene, Kogi State.
This is coming as the Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru, warned that any airline found wanting in tampering with recordings of Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) in the event of crash or serious incidents would be dealt with according to the law of the land.
The agency warned Air Peace and other airlines to desist from the action that is capable of making accident probes difficult. He explained that AIB would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air Peace on this. Olateru made the disclosure yesterday in a media briefing on the release of four accident occurrence reports at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
The final accident and serious incident reports include those involving Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft owned and operated by Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd. with registration marks 5N-BPU, which occurred at FL240, 80 NM to Lagos on April 18, 2017; report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-42 aircraft with registration marks 5N-BNH owned and operated by the International Aviation College which occurred on Runway 23 Ilorin International Airport on May 1, 2019.
Others are reports on the serious incident involving a Diamond DA-40 aircraft with registration marks 5N-BRM owned and operated by International Aviation College, which occurred on Runway 23, Ilorin International Airport on March 27th, 2014 and final report on the accident involving AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited with registration marks 5N-CML, which occurred at Kabba, Kogi State on February 2, 2019.
These four final reports include a total of nine safety recommendations, making a total of 51 Final Reports and 187 Safety Recommendations since the in ception of AIB.
Giving a synopsis of the serious helicopter crash involving the Vice-President, Olateru said at about 13:46hr, the helicopter departed Abuja runway 22 for Kabba, Kogi State from the Abuja airport. According to him, on board were 12 persons, including the Vice President, his entourage and three crewmembers (Pilot, Copilot and an engineer). The flight crew, according to the report, stated that they sighted the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a Police helicopter. According to him, “After sighting the football field, the flight crew approached with the speed of 20kt to about a 100ft, and entered a hover to land. At about 50ft above ground level, a brownout set in.
“The flight crew lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings. The Co-pilot began radio altitude callouts “35, 30, 25, 20 and 15”. At about 14:34hr, the helicopter experienced a hard landing on the right main landing gear and rolled over onto its right side. All persons on board were evacuated uninjured.”
The AIB chief listed factors that contributed to the crash as inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation and planning prior to commencement of the flight by the crew.
As part of safety recommendations, the AIB asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to conduct a Safety Management System (SMS) audit of Caverton Helicopters and to ensure that the airline has implemented the immediate safety recommendation 2019-003, the NCAA all operators Letter (FSG 002), and the recommendations documented in the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS investigation of this accident.
He equally directed the aviation regulatory body to also ascertain that the Caverton Helicopters’ internal SMS processes in the maintenance activities require the establishment of the reasons/causes of equipment failure and the unavailability of the reasons of the failures.
The report called on the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) into consider whether the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) Unit should be involved in the coordination and preparation of all high profile Executive VIP mission (flights) in order to ensure that all Executive VIP flights are conducted in accordance with the PAF Unit’s Standards and in line with its approved operating procedures.
He noted that a total of 32 final reports have been released since January 2017, which makes up 62.7% of AIB’s total of 51 Final Reports released since inception (2007). The 106 safety recommendations issued since 2017 account for 56.7% of the total 187 issued since inception. Before the end of the year, we should be able to release an additional six final reports to the public.