May 08, 2013 News Comments Off on Sparendaam plane crash…Aircraft was not inspected by Safety Regulation Dept.
By Keeran Danny
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)’s Aviation Safety Regulation Department was never informed that the American-registered aircraft that crashed into a Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara house on April 13, was operating in Guyana’s airspace.
According to a source, the regulatory body’s Air Transport Management Department did not verify if the aircraft was insured and the operator breached protocol in not informing all the relevant departments that the aircraft was operating in Guyana.
The Air Transport Management Department has one staffer, who
reports directly to GCAA’s Director General, Zulficar Mohamed.
The source noted that by way of letters, relevant agencies, with the exception of the Aviation Safety Regulation Department, were notified about the aircraft’s presence. Seemingly, it was only when the twin-engine Piper Aztec with registration N27-FT crashed, then some senior officials became aware of it.
But, Transport Minister Robeson Benn believes that the accusation is inaccurate information, and promised to inquire.
According to the source, during the investigations, several persons who were interviewed said that the aircraft had some flaws that needed urgent repairs. Had the Aviation Safety Regulation Department been informed about the aircraft, a physical inspection or ramp inspection would have been executed and the defects would have been identified, the source said.
Apparently, when the GCAA conducted its first investigations, several technical persons including Charles Hutson, Engineer of Wings Aviation, who were in contact with the aircraft, were not interviewed.
At the request of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the United States of America, for additional information on the incident, a second probe was launched. This allowed the GCAA to gather pertinent information on the defects of the plane.
According to Hutson, during an interview with this publication prior to his meeting with the GCAA, the aircraft, owned and piloted by Pierre Angiel, like many aircraft after a number of years had some defects. He said that Angiel had mentioned two defects to him.
Hutson said that Angiel was concerned that the light of the undercarriage lock of the aircraft was not working. As such, Angiel was unable to determine when the undercarriage was locked or open. In addition, the auto pilot electrical system socket was ‘popping’, interfering with the circuit breaker.
And importantly, Hutson confirmed earlier reports in this publication that two days prior to the crash, the right engine of the aircraft ‘popped’ when it took off from Ogle Airport. Angiel was expected to return after the flight to repair that flaw. According to a source, when Angiel was warned about the engine problem he brushed it off.
Hutson did not comment on whether the aircraft was airworthy, but said that Angiel should have had a mechanic on board, taking into consideration the state of the aircraft and the fact that no aviation workshop in Guyana is permitted to repair an FAA-registered aircraft.
According to a source, Angiel was unwilling to fix the aircraft in Guyana since he had a tight 10-day schedule to complete his task here.
The aircraft was contracted to conduct a technical survey mission for the Amaila Falls Access Road when it crashed into Florence Tyndall’s house just after taking off from Ogle Airport. Angiel and his passenger, Canadian Scientist Nick Dmitriev, perished in the crash.
During an interview, Mohamed had said that whenever foreign aircraft enter Guyana, pertinent documents such as a valid certificate of airworthiness, insurance and registration are presented to the GCAA. However, he could not have provided the name of the aircraft’s insurance company.
According to the source, the Air Transport Management Department did not verify if the aircraft was insured. Apparently, the regulatory body has requested help from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to locate the relevant insurance company.
The source said that the GCAA approached the FAA days after the crash to help identify the insurance company of the aircraft by forming a linkage between its registration and the insurance company.
The remains of the aircraft are ready to be shipped to one of its manufacturer’s facilities located in Miami, United States of America.
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