AIB re­leases re­port on four plane crashes

• Seeks prompt re­port of in­ci­dences • NCAA to mon­i­tor en­gine re­place­ment in sec­tor

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - By­wole Oye­bade

THE Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bureau (AIB) has re­leased an­other four re­ports on past air mishaps with var­i­ous rec­om­men­da­tions made to the Nige­rian Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (NCAA) and con­cerned op­er­a­tors.

Be­sides, the AIB has re­dou­bled its ef­forts to fast-track easy re­portage of se­ri­ous and mi­nor in­ci­dences in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try with the launch of an ap­pli­ca­tion for both op­er­a­tors and the pub­lic.

The mo­bile app, launched in La­gos yes­ter­day, is to avail bet­ter ac­cess to news and up­dates, en­hance con­ve­nience and live re­port­ing by eye­wit­nesses in the event of ac­ci­dents or in­ci­dents. Pic­tures can also be up­loaded on the app to as­sist greatly in in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Mean­while, the NCAA, in re­sponse to one of the AIB’S rec­om­men­da­tions, is con­sid­er­ing is­su­ing an All Op­er­a­tors Let­ter (AOL) to make manda­tory the is­suance of no­tice on en­gine re­place­ment in air­craft prior to the com­ple­tion of the ex­er­cise. The rule is to curb neg­li­gence and mishap on the part of the en­gi­neer­ing team.

Ac­cord­ing to the AIB re­port, on June 5, 2015, Aero Con­trac­tors Com­pany of Nige­ria Ltd sched­uled com­mer­cial flight NIG181, a Boe­ing 737-500 air­craft with reg­is­tra­tion num­ber 5N-BLE from La­gos to Kaduna, took off at 1828hours with 108 pas­sen­gers and five crew mem­bers on board. The First Of­fi­cer was the pi­lot fly­ing. The flight op­er­ated on an In­stru­ment Flight Rules (IFR).

The Air Traf­fic Con­trol (ATC) cleared the air­craft for take­off and to climb and main­tain Flight Level (FL) 350. Nor­mal cabin rate of climb (300ft/min) was ob­served dur­ing the ini­tial climb. Dur­ing climb at ap­prox­i­mately 23 min­utes, the cabin al­ti­tude warn­ing horn sounded and the cabin al­ti­tude warn­ing light came on.

The Cap­tain took con­trol of the air­craft, pas­sen­ger an­nounce­ment was made and emer­gency de­scent ini­ti­ated to an al­ti­tude of 10,000ft.

The flight di­verted to Abuja with a dis­tance of about 120nm to go. The air­craft made a safe land­ing in Abuja at 1932hrs and all pas­sen­gers and crew dis­em­barked nor­mally and with­out in­juries. The in­ci­dent oc­curred at night.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the AIB, Akin Olateru, iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing causal and con­trib­u­tory fac­tors: “The in­ad­ver­tent fail­ure to dis­cover that the Pres­sure Reg­u­lat­ing Shut­off Valve (PRSOV) was in the ‘locked closed’ po­si­tion af­ter the en­gine change. And fail­ure to recog­nise that the num­ber two bleed pres­sure was zero af­ter en­gine start and sub­se­quent fail­ure to mon­i­tor the pres­suri­sa­tion sys­tem dur­ing climb.”

The bureau, there­fore, rec­om­mended that NCAA should en­sure that the ac­tiv­i­ties of flight op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance de­part­ments of Aero Con­trac­tors Com­pany of Nige­ria Lim­ited are car­ried out in com­pli­ance with the NIG.CARS.

In the sec­ond in­ci­dent, in­volv­ing NCAT’S tur­bo­prop train­ing air­craft, in­ves­ti­ga­tion sub­mit­ted the causal fac­tor as the de­ci­sion of the crew to de­part Nnamdi Azikiwe In­ter­na­tional Air­port (NAIA), Abuja, with the knowl­edge of weather fore­cast, and fail­ure to fol­low the guid­ance provided by the weather radar ad­vi­sory to avoid the im­pend­ing ad­verse weather.

Though the two oc­cu­pants sus­tained mi­nor in­juries, AIB is­sued six safety rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing more over­sight on all pri­vate and spe­cial cat­e­gories of air­craft in op­er­a­tion.

Olateru, who said the num­ber was a par­tial ful­fil­ment of his ear­lier prom­ise to re­lease a back­log of 27 re­ports that had been pend­ing at AIB, said six more ac­ci­dent re­ports would be re­leased by the first quar­ter of 2018.

PHOTO PHILIP OJISUA

Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo (right), Direc­tor-gen­eral, Na­tional Agency for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-donli and Fed­eral Com­mis­sioner, Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Refugees, Mi­grants and In­ter­nally-dis­placed Per­sons, Sadiya Umar-farouk, dur­ing a meet­ing on the plight of Nige­ri­ans in­volved in hu­man traf­fick­ing in Libya and other places en-route Europe at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja… yes­ter­day.

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