PAF identifies pilots killed in Batangas plane crash
SAN PEDRO CITY—Two Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots were killed after their plane that was on an exhibition flight crashed off Nasugbu, Batangas, Saturday morning.
PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya identified the fatalities as Capt. John Bayao, an instructor pilot, and Lt. Al-Nazer Jana, a student pilot, who were on board the downed trainer aircraft, SF-260FH.
The two-seater high-speed and aerobatic trainer plane, with body number 1034, crashed at around 9:40 a.m. about 300 meters off the shore in Barangay Bucana, Canaya said.
The remains of the pilots were recovered from about 20 feet below the water’s surface, according to a report from the Nasugbu local police.
Their remains were flown by PAF helicopters to Villamor Air Base around 11:40 a.m, about two hours after the plane crashed, he said.
Canaya said the plane was part of a three-aircraft group that took off from the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas, at around 9 a.m. for a training mission and, at the same time, to participate in an exhibition flight during the 70th Liberation Day commemoration in the province.
Canaya said PAF was conducting an investigation as to what might have caused the air mishap.
The operation to retrieve the aircraft and to determine to cause of the crash was still ongoing as of past 4 p.m., he said.
Canaya refused to discuss the possible causes as to why the trainer plane went down, pending official results of the investigation.
PAF, he said, would definitely provide assistance for the families of the two pilots, who he said “had died in the line of duty.”
It was not known if the downed aircraft was one of the 18 brand new brand new SF-260FHs acquired by PAF in 2011.
In September 2011, Philippine Air Force top officials presented to the public the 18 brand new basic trainer aircraft, acquired for a total cost of P622.59 million, meant to improve the capability of PAF to train its pilots.
“The planes will improve the training curriculum for pilot training and enhance and develop pilots professionally and keep them up to date with the changing times and advancements of technology in accordance with the PAF’s thrusts in contributing to peace and development in the country,” PAF had then said.
According to PAF, the same trainer aircraft is being used by 27 military organizations, professional flying schools and private establishments worldwide.
Training for the pilots in the SF-260FH includes performing advanced aerobatic techniques and high-speed maneuvers. The aircraft is designed for speed and agility and is designed to be fully aerobatic.
This will give trainees experience in handling advanced aircrafts, the PAF said in a statement released during the launching of the aircraft.
SF-260 is designed and manufactured by Alenia Aermacchi based in Italy but those delivered to PAF were assembled in the Philippines through Aermacchi’s local partner, Aerotech Industries Philippines Inc. in Clarkfield, Pampanga, according to PAF.
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