By Lawani Mikairu
The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, yesterday released a report on the Accident involving Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Bell 427 helicopter with registration 5N-POL at Kabong, Jos South LGA, Plateau State, Nigeria on the 14th of March, 2012 that killed a serving Deputy Inspector General, Operations, and said the flight crew, including the pilot, were not qualified to fly the aircraft.
Addressing aviation reporters at the Bureau’s headquarters in Lagos, yesterday, the AIB Commissioner, Engr Akin Olateru said investigation revealed that one of the “Probable Causal Factors” was that the crashed helicopter pilot’s medical had expired as at the time of accident. The pilot Simulator recurrency had also expired as at the time of accident. The co-pilot was not type rated on the helicopter (Bell 427), and the engineer that released the aircraft prior to the flight had no type training and type rating on the aircraft type.
The AIB report on the police helicopter was one of the three accident reports released yesterday. Others are report on the serious incident to Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Tampico TB9 aircraft with registration 5N-CBC which occurred at Zaria Aerodrome, Kaduna, on the 6th of October, 2008; and
AIB Bulletin on the Ground Collision incident involving two aircraft belonging to Air Peace Airlines Limited: Boeing 737-500 with registration 5N-BQR and Boeing 737-300 with registration 5N-BQP, which occurred close to Bay 4 of the Domestic Terminal 1 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria on the 20th of April, 2017.
According to the AIB report: “ The helicopter 5N-POL was operated by the NPF and was registered under the private category with the NCAA. All relevant stakeholders were notified”.
“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.”
“The pilot reported endurance of two hours, five persons on board, maintaining an altitude of 4000ft, and that it was a patrol flight around Jos city. The pilot also reported that he would be landing at the Police Headquarters, Jos and would call the Control Tower when re-joining for another patrol. The helicopter landed at the Nigeria Prisons Service football field, Jos (customarily used as a landing site for the Police Headquarters, Jos) at 1058hrs”.
“At about 1150hrs, the helicopter lifted up with four persons on board including the DIG. The Control Tower was notified at about 1155hrs of the helicopter’s crash at Landir village, Kabong area near Jos metropolis and that all four persons on board were fatally injured. The accident occurred in daylight at a coordinate of N09°55.229, E008°51.853.”
“The investigation identified the following probable causal factors: Probable Causal Factors: The cause of the accident cannot be conclusively decided but the investigation discovered series of discrepancies and non-compliance with Nig.CARs which includes: Pilot:The pilot’s medical had expired as at the time of accident,Simulator recurrency had expired as at the time of accident”.
“Co-pilot:The co-pilot was not type rated on the helicopter (Bell 427). Engineer:
The engineer that released the aircraft prior to the flight had no type training and type rating on the aircraft type.”
“Three Safety Recommendations were made:4.1 Safety Recommendation 2017-001. NPF Air-Wing should provide the proper funding, conducive working environment, develop and implement a robust training programme for its technical/operational personnel, with adequate supervision and approved equipment to enhance safety”.
“ Safety Recommendation 2017-002: NCAA should ensure that NPF Air-Wing complies with its AMO requirements “.
“ Safety Recommendation 2017-003: NCAA and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) should launch an independent inquiry into Aviation fuel quality in Nigeria. The resulting report should focus on the vulnerability and risk of each step in the distribution process. This should yield firmer regulatory oversight mechanism that ensures international quality of aviation fuels used in Nigeria”.