April 18, 2018

Poor professional conduct of flight crew bane of Airline crash — AIB

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Wednesday said poor professional conduct of the flight crew was one of the factors responsible for the Associated Aircraft crash of Oct. 3, 2013 at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

Newsmen report that Mr Akin Olateru, Commissioner of AIB, made the disclosure while presenting a final report on the crash alongside five other serious accident and incident reports to newsmen in Lagos.

The aircraft, with the registration number, 5N-BJY, was conveying the body of a former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusegun Agagu, for burial in his home state and had 20 persons on board.

Newsmen report that the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia crashed shortly after taking off from the domestic wing of the airport, killing 15 persons, including Deji, the son of prominent politician, Chief Olu Falae.

The release of the report is coming three weeks after Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari of a Federal High Court, Lagos, ordered the airline to pay N264 million as compensation to Deji’s widow, Ese Falae.

Speaking at the ceremony, Olateru said the bureau was committed to releasing accident reports promptly, to realise the purpose of accident investigation.

He said the AIB was notified of the Associated Aircraft crash through a phone call by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), immediately after the accident.

“The causal factor was the decision of the crew to continue the take-off, despite the abnormal number 2 Propeller indication warning and the low altitude stall as a result of low thrust at start of roll for take-off from number 2 engine, caused by an undetermined malfunction of the propeller control unit,’’ Olateru said.

On the contributory factor, he fingered the aircraft being rotated before attaining V1, the decision to continue the take-off with flap configuration warning, as well as auto-feather warning at low speed.

The commissioner said other factors were poor professional conduct of the flight crew, inadequate application of Crew Resource Management (CRM) principles, poor company culture and inadequate regulatory oversight.

He said the AIB consequently released four safety recommendations on the crash, which were all directed at NCAA.

Olateru called on NCAA to enhance the enforcement of the regulations with regards to the implementation of operators approved personnel training programme.

He said the NCAA should also intensify its safety oversight function on the airline, to ensure that flight operations are carried out in accordance with approved operations manuals, in line with the provisions of Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs).

The AIB commissioner called for improved safety oversight on the affected carrier to ensure staff welfare issues, and that remunerations were settled promptly.

He further called for the establishment of a Confidential Voluntary Reporting System, which must be implemented in line with the State Safety Programme.

Newsmen report that the six final accident and serious incident reports occurred in the Nigeria aviation industry between 2009 and 2014.

Another accident report released was that of Westlink Airlines Limited Piper Aztec 23-250 aircraft with registration number 5N-BGZ, which occurred at Matseri Village, Bunza Local Government Area of Kebbi State on Aug. 11, 2014.

The serious incidents were Aero Contractors DHC-8-400 aircraft incident with registration 5N-BPT, with the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) baggage loader on April 29, 2014.

The bureau also released a report on the incident involving two Bristow Helicopters aircraft, Bell 412 helicopters with Registration numbers 5N-BGS, and 5N-BDD, at the Addax Base Helipad, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria on Nov. 12, 2009.

Also covered were the serious incidents involving two aircraft belonging to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).

The first was the Tampico Club TB9 with registration number 5N-CBE, which serious incident occurred at the Zaria Aerodrome, Kaduna State on Oct. 4, 2012.

The second NCAT report related to the serious incident involving Tampico TB9 aircraft with registration number 5N-CBI that occurred at the same Zaria Aerodrome on May 23, 2012.