The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) yesterday released four occurrence reports, including that of the Accident involving an Agusta-Westland AW139 Helicopter operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-CML, which occurred at Kabba Stadium, Kogi State on 2nd February, 2019.
On board the Agusta-Westland AW139 Helicopter were 12 persons including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, his entourage and three crew members (Pilot, Co-pilot and an Engineer).
Also report on the Serious Incident involving Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft owned and operated by Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd. with nationality and registration marks 5N-BPU, which occurred at FL240, 80 NM to Lagos on 18th April 2017; report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-42 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BNH owned and operated by the International Aviation College, which occurred on Runway 23 Ilorin International Airport on 1st of May, 2019 and the report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-40 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BRM owned and operated by International Aviation College, which occurred on Runway 23, Ilorin International Airport On 27th of March, 2014 were all released.
In his speech, Commissioner, CEO of AIB, Akin Olateru at the media briefing held Tuesday at the corporate headquarters, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, stated that the causal factor of the accident is the fact that, the flight crew encountered a brownout condition during the hover to land, which led to the loss of external visual references, spatial disorientation and loss of situational awareness resulting in a misjudgement of distance and ground clearance, as the flight crew tried to control the helicopter’s movements for landing.
Olateru confirmed that the helicopter landed hard and rolled over on its right side.
On contributing factors, Olateru pointed out “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” .
According to the Commissioner, eleven days after the accident, the AIB issued two Interim Safety Recommendations, one to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and one to Caverton Helicopters, adding that the required safety actions were initiated and implemented promptly.
Some of the Safety Recommendations issued in the Final Report, according to Olateru include, “Safety Recommendation 2020-001 which stipulates that” NCAA should conduct a Safety Management System (SMS) audit of Caverton Helicopters and that the SMS audit by the NCAA should ensure that Caverton Helicopters has implemented the Immediate Safety Recommendation 2019-003.
It also directed that the NCAA audit should also ascertain that the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS processes in the maintenance activities require the establishment of the reasons/causes of equipment failure/malfunction.
On Safety Recommendation 2020-002, Olateru stated that “The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) should 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.
On the Serious Incident involving Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft owned and operated by Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd. with nationality and registration marks 5N-BPU, which occurred at FL240, 80 NM to Lagos On 18th April 2017, AIB stated that engine oil leaked onto a hot surface of the engine causing fumes which mixed with the engine bleed air supply to the air conditioning system, resulting in smoke in the aircraft cabin, cockpit and lavatory/ cargo compartments.
Safety Recommendation 2019-024 directed that “Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited should ensure that Cockpit and Cabin Crew are alive to their responsibilities during emergencies vis-à-vis establishing effective two-way communication.
Safety Recommendation 2019-025 however, directed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should ensure that operators utilize the New Oil Analysis Technology made available by Pratt & Whitney Canada in order to identify impending failure of the carbon seals on PW150A engines that are yet to comply with SB 35342R1.
On the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-42 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BNH owned and operated by the International Aviation College which occurred on Runway 23 Ilorin International Airport on 1st of May, 2019, AIB identified the causal factor, being that the crew carried out the approach and landed with landing gears not extended.
Other contributory factors according to the bureau are: inadequate crew coordination during the approach to landing phase of flight; lack of situational awareness on the position of the landing gears by the flight crew during approach to land and inappropriate execution of approach and landing checklist.
Three Safety Recommendations were made and AIB recommended that “NCAA should intensify its oversight on International Aviation College (IAC) and ensure that it adheres strictly to the use of Checklists and appropriate procedures during all training sessions and phases of flight”.
Another recommendation from the bureau is that “International Aviation College (IAC) should improve on its Crew Resource Management training vis-à-vis the need for trainees to be assertive when necessary.
Safety Recommendations 2019-028
NAMA should devise means to ensure duty air traffic controllers, DATCOs, maintain continuous watch on all aircraft movements within the vicinity of the aerodrome.
On the report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-40 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BRM owned and operated by International Aviation College which occurred on Runway 23, Ilorin International Airport On 27th of March, 2014, AIB stated that the causal factor was loss of directional control after touchdown and subsequent veer of the aircraft off the runway.
It equally identified wrong engine power application during landing roll as a contributory factor.
On the serious incidents, two safety recommendations were made, including: Safety Recommendations 2019-029, advising “International Aviation College (IAC) should have in place a stringent flight training policy to discourage disruptions of students’ training during the stipulated period”.
The other he said is Safety Recommendations 2019-030, which also stipulates that “International Aviation College (IAC) should develop and incorporate in their training manual, procedures to ensure that corrective actions are developed and implemented to prevent observed deficiencies such as “exceeding required minimum hours for solo flight”, duly signed out by Instructors and records kept in the student’s file prior to conducting a solo flight.