Sin­gle en­gine he­li­copter safe and be­fit­ting for Bhutan

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

Dur­ing the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion in the sixth ses­sion of 2nd Par­lia­ment last Fri­day, the mem­ber from Pan­bang con­stituency MP Dorji Wangdi ques­tioned the Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions on the is­sues re­lated to the ar­rival of a new gov­ern­ment he­li­copter. The cost of the he­li­copter, safety is­sues and modal­ity of its op­er­a­tion was also ques­tioned.

In re­sponse to his ques­tion, the Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Ly­onpo D.N Dhungyel in­formed with re­gard to the safety of the he­li­copter that the gov­ern­ment is work­ing on it. He added that the he­li­copter that they have pur­chased is with sin­gle en­gine. Be­sides that he in­formed that ex­perts were also con­sulted who ex­pressed that the sin­gle en­gine he­li­copter is safe and most be­fit­ting for ge­o­graph­i­cal con­di­tions of Bhutan.

“If we pur­chased he­li­copter with dou­ble en­gine, it is very im­por­tant to find out whether it will be suit­able for our ge­o­graph­i­cal con­di­tion of Bhutan,” Ly­onpo said. He cited an ex­am­ple that few years ago dur­ing the time of elec­tion in Lunana where the time arises to use he­li­copter. Dur­ing that time the dou­ble en­gine he­li­copter could not land up. There­fore, gov­ern­ment has to use sin­gle en­gine he­li­copter from Nepal.

He added that the he­li­copter was pur­chased at the cost of Nu. 240 mil­lion and would in­cur around Nu.160, 000 per hour while on air.

Clar­i­fy­ing on the sup­ple­men­tary ques­tions from the floor, Ly­onpo ex­pressed that the he­li­copter ser­vices will mainly com­pli­ment emer­gency ser­vices. Be­sides that the he­li­copters will be made avail­able on hire for tourism pur­poses and reach­ing con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als to re­mote ar­eas while pub­lic ser­vice will re­main the pri­or­ity. If the he­li­copter is hired for tourism pur­poses, it will be cost US$ 5000 per hour and if it is hired by na­tional tourist and the civil ser­vant, it will be cost Nu.1, 62,000.

He also in­formed that, 47 lo­ca­tions around the coun­try were iden­ti­fied as he­li­pads and fea­si­ble lo­ca­tions in Ge­wogs were also be­ing iden­ti­fied.

Fur­ther Ly­onpo added that Bhutan He­li­copter Ser­vices Lim­ited which is a state owned en­ter­prise will be man­ag­ing the op­er­a­tion of the he­li­copters.

Ly­onpo Dam­cho Dorji, the Min­istry for For­eign Af­fairs also added with re­gards to the dou­ble and sin­gle en­gine, as the ex­pert says that we can­not trust solely on en­gine. There are many ways to cre­ate prob­lem. The rea­son for hav­ing dou­ble en­gine is used for car­ry­ing heavy load.

Ly­onpo added that, in gen­eral as ex­pert say that even if he­li­copter is hav­ing with dou­ble en­gine, for he­li­copter if one en­gine fails there will be prob­lems. He added that, we have to look at the cost also as the dou­ble en­gine is cost­ing dou­ble for the dou­ble en­gine than the sin­gle en­gine.

Ly­onpo Norbu Wangchuk, the Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic Af­fairs said that for the safety of the he­li­copter that from gov­ern­ment side that they kept the cost of the he­li­copter aside, but they also looked at the safety of the he­li­copter. He added that the as ex­pert says that pi­lot er­ror oc­cur mainly with the dou­ble en­gine but not much with the sin­gle en­gine. That’s way; we pur­chased the he­li­copter with the sin­gle en­gine.

Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay launched the first he­li­copter an Air­bus H130 of the Royal Bhutan He­li­copter Ser­vices last Thurs­day. The sec­ond air­craft, also a H130, is ex­pected to ar­rive by May next year.

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