Aviation

Why crashed Quorum chopper had no black box – AIB

*Preliminary report to be ready in four weeks

Despite the fact that the ill-fated Quorum Aviation Limited helicopter was not fitted with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR), popularly known as the Black Box, the agency in charge of the investigation into the crash, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said it would not hamper its inquiry.

AIB’s Commissioner, Mr. Akin Olateru at a press briefing on the accident in Lagos Tuesday, said that the preliminary report of the accident that claimed the lives of the pilot, Capt. Chika Prudence Ernest, the flight engineer, Clement Ndiok and fitter, Macaulay Brownson would be release in about a month.

He stated that despite the accident, which is Nigeria’s first in five years, he said the country ranks as one of the safest in the world.

This is coming as Olateru said all relevant stakeholders, including the aircraft and engine manufacturers, had been notified, just as he stated that the airplane type does not have the capability of jettisoning fuel.

This may have put to end speculations that the crew jettisoned aviation fuel, otherwise known as Jet A1 to prevent fire on landing.

The AIB chief clarified that the Bureau did not retrieve an FDR from the aircraft as the Bell 206, disclosing that the helicopter is certified at approximately 1,519kg (3,350lbs) and featured five seats, adding that it does not meet the necessary criteria for an FDR and was not featured with one.

He further disclosed that the standard requirement for an FDR in any aircraft is 10 seats.

The FDR is a device used to record specific aircraft performance parameters. The purpose of an FDR is to collect and record data from a variety of aircraft sensors onto a medium designed to survive an accident.

His words: “An FDR on the aircraft would have aided the investigation but, nevertheless, our world-class trained investigators are competent to retrieve information about a crash from the wreckage and several other components of the aircraft, the site of the crash, communication with the Air Traffic Control (ATC), and other documents on the aircraft and the crew.

“It is extremely important to note that the aviation industry is the most regulated industry globally and its operations are regulated in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“The installation and application of FDRs in aircraft is guided by ICAO Annex 6, Parts 1 and 2. The basic standards for both Parts are essentially similar. Part 1 applies to commercial aircraft while Part 2 is for non-commercial operations.”

From evidence gathered till date, Olateru reiterated that the crashed helicopter had a valid Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) till October 29, 2020 and Quorum Aviation has a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) that will expire on November 20, 2020.

He pointed that investigations are currently on-going; warning that conjecture at this stage is detrimental to the process.

 

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