Plane Crash: NAF explains why younger pilots were allowed to fly Army chief, others
The Nigerian Air Force has explained why younger pilots were allowed to fly the late Chief of Army Staff, Lit Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and others in the ill-fated Kaduna military plane crash.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, said the capability of its pilots should not be called into question despite the recent NAF plane crashes.
Gabkwet said the flight captain who flew the ill-fated Kaduna military plane, Taiwo Asaniyi, was a Flying Lieutenant with thousands of flying hours.
According to him, the late pilot and some of his colleagues, including the pilot who flies the President, had been flying since they were cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy.
He said, “On people saying a senior ranking officer should have flown the Chief of Army Staff and others, people don’t know him (the captain of the crashed plane). He and the pilot flying the President are both Flight Lieutenants. He flew more hours than some of us. He had been flying since his time at the Nigerian Defence Academy. He started flying as a cadet.
“As a captain on the Beechcraft, he had flown 2,450 hours, which was in 2019. So he would have flown nothing less than 5,000 hours since his cadet days. He had been flying the COAS and other VVIPs on that same Beechcraft. He was 29 years old. Because he had an accident doesn’t mean he didn’t have experience.
“He travelled every year for retraining. Our training involves a partnership with the manufacturers of the planes. It is rigorous; it’s not something taken with levity.”
Gabkwet also debunked insinuations that the planes in the NAF fleet were old, noting that the ill-fated Beechcraft plane was one of the best in the world.
He also said the planes were bought brand new just about six years ago.
He said, “We have four Beechcraft aircraft. The Beechcraft aircraft which crashed last Friday was among those newly bought in 2015. They are easy to maintain and they are widely used even in the United States and Britain.
“The one that crashed in January was given to us by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency. So, the accident wasn’t about the aircraft. Everyone is saying the weather that day was bad. Even in Abuja, it was bad.”
The NAF spokesperson also said an investigation into the accident had commenced in collaboration with the Accident Investigation Bureau, and that information would be retrieved from the black box and control tower tapes.
Gabkwet said due to the nature of the military plane crash, its report would be made available to the public when concluded.
The post Plane Crash: NAF explains why younger pilots were allowed to fly Army chief, others appeared first on NEWS.