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Crashed Helicopter had valid certificates….AIB

by Business News Report

Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau , AIB has confirmed that the Bell 206 Helicopter operated by Quorum Aviation which crashed last week Friday at Opebi, Ikeja had valid certificates. The Commissioner of AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru who made the confirmation at a media briefing in Lagos, said the Helicopter type does not have a Black Box or Flight Data Recorder, FDR. as it is a light aircraft with five seats. He further said no Black Box was retrieved from the crash site contrary to speculations in some social media. Narrating the sequence of events of the flight  that originated in Port Harcourt with Lagos as its intended destination, Olateru said :  ” On 28th August 2020, a Bell 206 B III helicopter with nationality and registration marks 5N-BQW, operated by Quorum Aviation Limited, started its engine at 09:15 h. At 0920 h, the helicopter lifted off from Port Harcourt Military Airport (DNPM) for EAN Hanger, Lagos Airport”.

“At 11:45h, the aircraft established contact with Lagos Tower, reporting maintaining 1000 ft and estimating the station at 12:18 h. In the ensuing communication, the pilot was advised of station weather. At 12:10 h, the pilot reported sighting the airfield and was instructed by ATC, to report downwind for runway 18L. At 12:16h, the ATC tried unsuccessfully to establish contact with the aircraft. At 12:36h, ATC was informed of the crash of the helicopter by MMF02, a MMIA fire station. At the crash site, two bodies were recovered. A third occupant was evacuated but died later in the hospital”.

The aircraft wreckage was also recovered and now in the custody of the Bureau. We have been receiving cooperation from Quorum Aviation Ltd, the owners and operator of the ill-fated aircraft” On the black box, the AIB Commissioner said : ” We are aware of the speculations circulating on social media and other public fora with regards to the probable cause of the crash and AIB’s retrieval of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), popularly known as the Black Box”.

“We would like to clarify that AIB did not retrieve an FDR from the aircraft as the Bell 206 is certified at approximately 1,519kg (3,350lbs) and featured five seats. It does not meet the necessary criteria for an FDR and was not featured with one”.

“The standard requirement for an FDR in any aircraft is ten seats. 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”.

“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 ATC, and other documents on the aircraft and the crew”.

On the validity of the aircraft certificates ,  Olateru said : ” From evidence gathered till date, the helicopter has 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 November 20,2020. We would like to point out that investigations are currently ongoing and conjecture at this stage is detrimental to the process. As a point to note, Accident Investigation is in phases and all procedures are performed in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2019 and the guidance of ICAO Annex 13. At this instance and in line with the phases of accident investigation processes, we are at the stage of evidence gathering. All relevant stakeholders have been notified including the aircraft and engine manufacturers”.

Speaking about partnership with Lagos State Emergency Management Agency,  LASEMA, Olateru said : ” In recent years AIB has secured important collaborative agreements with other agencies and organizations, at home and abroad, to improve our efficiency and the safety of the Nigerian air space. I would like to appreciate LASEMA, the Nigerian Police Force, Fire Service and other law enforcement agencies for the role they played in securing the recent crash site and controlling the crowd at the scene. In view of the role LASEMA played at the Bell 206-B3 crash site, AIB is looking at securing collaboration with the agency as a way of further strengthening the security at crash sites and of vital evidence that could aid our investigations”, the Commissioner revealed.

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