Expert says flickering of cargo light normal, opening of cargo door when engine is running difficult
The rising cases of Intruders allegedly opening the cargo compartment of aircraft either taxing or holding on the runway of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos has become a cause for concern for the Manager of the nation’s airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN.
The recent Incident involved a Boeing 737-700 belonging to Royal Air Maroc with registration number CN-RNQ when the pilot discovered the cargo light was flickering despite the Aviation security escort visual observation that the cargo compartment was closed.
Embarrassed by this incident and others which had occured in the past, FAAN has embarked on a mission to put a lasting stop to these incidents which maintenance Engineers in the industry said was normal for the cargo light to come on or flicker for few seconds and stop but not permanently on.
Regional Manager South West Airports and Airport Manager MMIA, Mrs. Victoria Shinaba at a news conference in Lagos, said concrete steps were being taken by FAAN to ensure no intruder gain access to the airside of the airport.
She explained that apart from the joint patrol of the perimeter fence of the airport by both the military and police, it had also engaged the services of night guards to patrol the perimeter fence and the bushes around the airport especially the Shasha, Ejigbo and Isolo areas having boundaries with the MMIA.
Shinaba lamented that their greatest headaches was the encroachment of the airport land by communities surrounding the airport
“We have issue with our perimeter, the area the airport cover is very large, we use to use consentina wire before now but we now use spikes, they cut the consenting to get access.We are battling with the communities around but then we try to make sure that we do it right, we have the military men on the airside that helps us, aside that we have night guards, apart from this escort we have guards that hide in the bushes, it is a layer of security so many things”.
Shinaba also lamented that another headache was the encroachment of the airport land by communities surrounding the airport, adding the FAAN Management was working in collaboration with the Lagos State Government to address the situation, adding something had to be done quickly to ensure safety and security.
Enumerating other efforts being made to nip the problem in the bud, the airport Manager said, its patrol vans have been fitted with cameras on its dashboards to capture the environment during patrol, adding that this was a palliative for the main time.
According to her, the Management had concluded arrangements to purchase and install thermal and Infrareds cameras to fully monitor and expose happenings or any intruder who manages to gain access to the airport especially at night.
“We now have a dashboard cameras in the interim, we have gotten just few but we have imported some more, so maybe in the next one week we will have more. So these patrol vans will be equipped with the dashboard cameras, that’s just a palliative but the permanent one the MD himself is working seriously on it for thermal and Infrareds cameras”.
Mrs. Shinaba noted that the Managing Director FAAN, Captain Hamisu Yadudu was working assiduously to address this security threat to safety.
“But we are mostly particular about the airside because at the end of the day security and safety are Paramount and anything that happens on the airside has a ripple effect, we are here to ensure that our Airport is safe”.
Shinaba also pointed out that airport staff who have either been sacked or retired including security officials were threats difficult to tackle.
“We have the issue of old staff, you know Airport is another community of its own whereby people come to work, when they are laid off, they don’t want to go,this all cuts across, uniform, civilian, everybody those are issues”.
Expert explanation on the cargo compartment light coming on the aircraft dashboard.
An aircraft maintenance engineer with over 21 years in the industry says, the aircraft cargo door is opened from outside the airplane by pulling the door handle out of the recess and rotating it counter-clockwise.
Rotation of the handle activates a torque tube to withdraw the latch rollers from the latch fitting.
As the door swing on-board under tension of the door balance mechanism, the DOOR WARNING PROXIMITY switch is activated to energize the appropriate door warning in the Control cabin to alert the crew.
The FWD (forward) Cargo Is close to the second engine which is called ‘Danger Zone’. When the engine is operating, the FWD Cargo becomes dangerous zone as anyone within the zone could be sucked into the engine. The opening and closing of the cargo door however take more than three (3) minutes.
AFT (afterward) Cargo compartment works on the same principle as the FWD cargo doors. However, the AFT Cargo door is higher from the ground than the FWD. It is a dangerous practice to go and open because of the engine blast.
The proximity switch and the plunder could vibrate when the engine Lever is moved above idle running, for some seconds, the light may flash and warning light will remain off. It is never an easy thing to open the cargo doors while the engine is running. He advised that the manufacturer’s maintenance manual can be consulted for more information