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LOOK: Grounded UH-1D choppers cleared to fly again

/ 09:59 AM May 16, 2017
UH-1D choppers, which were grounded early this month after a crash in Tanay, Rizal that killed three Air Force servicemen, have been cleared to fly again. Two of the choppers were seen participating in the Balikatan exercises held in Aurora. Niño Jesus Orbeta/ Philippine Daily Inquirer

UH-1D choppers, which were grounded early this month after a crash in Tanay, Rizal, that killed three Air Force servicemen, have been cleared to fly again. Two of the choppers were seen participating in the Balikatan exercises held in Aurora. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / NIñO JESUS ORBETA

CASIGURAN, Aurora— The Philippine Air Force’s UH-1D helicopters have been cleared to fly again despite the fatal crash that killed three airmen in Tanay, Rizal early this month which has remained unresolved.

Two of the UH-1D choppers were used in Balikatan exercises here, where Philippine and US troops trained for relief operations following a supertyphoon.

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Air Force spokesperson Col. Antonio Francisco explained that “individual lifting” was made after the grounding of the choppers.

“Halimbawa, kung anong unit ang mayroong UH-1D i-inspect nila. Kung walang makitang defect, i-lift nila. So nagkanya-kanyang inspection sila at wala namang nakita,” he said.

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(For example, they would inspect units which have UH-1D. If they don’t see a defect, they would lift the order. They conducted their own inspections and they did not see any problem.)

UH-1D choppers 2

An Air Force Huey UH-1D helicopter flies high during Balikatan exercises in Casiguran, Aurora, on May 16, 2017. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / NIñO JESUS ORBETA

Francisco said there are currently eight operational UH-1D choppers while three are undergoing maintenance.

“Even before the crash may mga naka schedule for maintenance at hindi pa operational lahat at that time,” he said.

(Even before the crash, there were already units scheduled for maintenance and not all units were operational at that time.)

A pilot and two crewmen of the UH-1D were killed while one survived in the UH-1D helicopter crash during a training for rescue operations in Tanay last May 4.

READ: 3 killed, 1 hurt in Air Force chopper crash

The Air Force said they immediately grounded the helicopters after the incident as part of their standard operating procedure.

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While the existing helicopters have been cleared to fly again, Francisco said there were still no results in the investigation on the crash.

“Bubuksan pa ‘yung makina. Bibiyakin pa para talaga intensive ang investigation (We will still open the engines. We will open them so we can investigate them intensively),” he said.

Francisco said there were originally 13 units of the UH-1D but two were downed from crashes.

The first reported crash of the UH-1D was in November 2015 in Sarangani, which injured two pilots and seven other crew onboard.

The deal on the acquisition of the refurbished choppers in 2013 worth P1.2 billion from Rice Aircraft Services was reportedly tainted with corruption and some of the units were allegedly defective, prompting the Senate to investigate. CBB/IDL/rga

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TAGS: Helicopters, Huey, news, Philippine Air Force, UH 1D
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