Police helicopter crash: AIB says maybe fuel contamination

L-r: Director engineering services AIB Mohammed wali, AIB commissioner Akin Olateru and the AIB spokesman, Tunji Oketunbi at a news conference in Lagos

………reveals use of unqualified pilots and engineers for the flight

………..AirPeace aircraft collision blamed on failure to use marshallers

The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, has released the final accident investigation report of the Nigerian Police helicopter crash in Jos Plateau state in 2012 blaming it on contaminated fuel and the use of unqualified pilots and engineer to handle the flight.
The AIB commissioner, Mr. Akin Olateru during the release of the reports at a news conference in Lagos said the cause of the accident cannot be conclusively decided but investigation discovered series of discrepancies and non-compliance with Nigerian Civil Aviation regulations, Nig.CARs.

He noted 24 hours before the ill-fated flight a police fuel bowser had arrived Jos from Abuja to fuel the aircraft which had been parked overnight at the Jos Prison football field.

“On Tuesday 13th March, 2012, the flight originated from Abuja airport to Jos Prison Service football field as a ferry flight. The purpose of the flight was to convey the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations from Jos to Abuja. The aircraft had initial contact with Jos Control Tower at 1350hrs en-route and reported ETA to be 1400hrs.

The following day, 14th March 2012 at 0930hrs, a police fuel bowser that had arrived Jos from Abuja the previous day, fuelled the aircraft which had been parked overnight at the Jos Prison football field.
At 0958hrs, two-way communication was established between the helicopter and ATC”.

According to the AIB commissioner, analysis of fuel samples from the aircraft, fuel dump and the bowser revealed conflicting results.
He explained, ” co oil supplied the police bowser in Abuja before coming to Jos, we took fuel samples from the aircraft, it gave us a result, we took from the bowser and dump, it gave us a different result, so there were conflicting results, that is why I said the cause of the accident cannot be conclusively decided but the investigation discovered series of discrepancies”.


He also revealed that the helicopter pilot, its copilot and the engineer were not qualified to have handled the flight because they were not type-rated on the helicopter.

“The pilot’s medical had expired as at the time of accident, and Simulator recurrency had expired as at the time of accident. The co-pilot was not type rated on the helicopter (Bell 427).The engineer that released the aircraft prior to the flight had no type training and type rating on the aircraft type”.

He called on NPF Air-Wing to provide the proper funding, develop and implement a robust training programme for its technical and operational personnel, with adequate supervision and approved equipment to enhance safety.

Other final accident investigation reports included that of the serious incident involving a Tampico aircraft of the Nigeria college of aviation technology, Zaria blamed on inability of the student pilot to maintain directional control of the aircraft after touchdown.
“The student pilot lost concentration while retracting the flap and trimming the aircraft during the landing roll preparatory to the next take-off and the student was fatigued as he had done six landings with the instructor and four solo landings”.

On the incident involving the collision of two AirPeace aircraft in Lagos was attributed to maneuvering of the aircraft without the aid of Marshallers.

“Various factors contributed to the incident: the decision of the Captain to reposition the aircraft without requesting for a push-back, maneuvering the aircraft without the aid of Marshallers and instead relying on the company’s engineers who are inexperienced wing walkers; the decision of the crew to taxi the aircraft without properly assessing the maneuverability of the aircraft at the parking bay; the non-availability of proper apron markings and Marshallers; the presence of cautionary cones at strategic areas where repair work on the apron was awaiting cure. The limited maneuvering space between 5N-BQP and 5N-MJJalso contributed to the incident”.

The AIB boss promised that before the end of the year more reports would be published.
“As I have promised in the past, we look to publish more reports before the end of the year. I can confirm to you today that two (2) of our reports have gone for sixty (60) days stakeholders comments.

Our statutory obligation is to investigate air accidents and serious incidents: and by our safety recommendations, mitigate them in order to forestall reoccurrence”.


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