Pilot erred, Parañaque crash probers conclude
The pilot of the ill-fated light cargo plane that crashed into a Parañaque neighborhood two weeks ago could not have been able to perform the proper emergency maneuvers, according to officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The CAAP, in a press briefing Thursday afternoon regarding the partial result of their probe, said that human factor and mechanical failure were the two most probable causes of the crash last December 10, which left 14 people dead and several others injured.
“We cannot say that he (pilot) panicked; what we’re saying is that he appeared to have tried to come back (towards the runway) hurriedly upon sensing that something was wrong with the aircraft,” said Capt. Amado Soliman Jr., head of CAAP’s aircraft accident investigation inquiry board.
Soliman added that the aircraft’s pilot, Captain Timothy Albo, had already logged in over 3,000 flying hours and had over 170 hours flying the ill-fated Beechcraft Qeen Air, making him a very proficient pilot.
He, however, could not explain why the pilot was not able to safely maneuver the plane.
But he revealed that apart from Albo and the co-pilot Jessie Kim Lustica, there was a student pilot onboard the aircraft who was included in the manifest. The student pilot was identified as Julius Dorado.
CAAP director-general Ramon Gutierrez said that the twin-engine Beechcraft Queen Air plane still had one engine running at the time of the incident.
Soliman, a retired pilot, said a malfunctioning engine would require skillful maneuvering of the plane, especially when turning back towards the runway, so as not to aggravate an already bad situation.
He explained that in such situations, standard operating procedure should be for pilots to gain more altitude first to get more control of the aircraft before heading back towards the airport to land.
“In this case, however, the video footage showed that the pilot hurriedly tried to head back towards the runway as he turned towards the direction of the dead engine, losing speed in the process and making it turn sharply to the left, resulting in its deadly plunge,” Soliman said.
Soliman further explained that twin-engine airplanes could fly and land even on a single engine.
“Pilots are trained to perform emergency maneuvers if and when an engine fails during flight,” he added. “The pilots should have turned the aircraft to the right, or the direction where the operating engine is.”
Gutierrez added that the aircraft’s left engine suffered what appeared to be fuel loss, which later caused it to conk out. Quoting witnesses in the crash site, Gutierrez added one of the engines was heard sputtering before it banked steeply to the left then plunged to the ground.
He said the pilots of the aircraft — Capt. Timothy Albo and Capt. Jesse Kim Lustica — encountered problems with the left engine upon reaching 200 feet, forcing them to radio the Manila Control Tower and request for emergency landing status.
The CAAP chief clarified that the aircraft had a valid Air Operator’s Certificate and that it was given an airworthiness certificate by the CAAP last January 15, 2011.
Gutierrez revealed that the aircraft was covered by an insurance policy but only up to September of 2011. When asked why the CAAP allowed them to operate with an insurance policy not co-terminus with its operating permit, the CAAP chief said they would review their policies to make sure that this wouild not happen again.
The CAAP said the registered owner of the aircraft, Captain Fidel Hembrador, had already showed up at the CAAP office to give his side on the issue.
Hembrador told authorities that he had leased the aircraft to Capt. Arthur Velasquez, owner of the Aviation Technology Innovation Inc., and that they (ATI) were the ones in charge of operating and maintaining the aircraft.
“But Captain Velasquez says otherwise,” Gutierrez said.
Originally posted at 10:51 pm | Thursday, December 22, 2011
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