Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Solomon Islands: Aviation navigational aids vandalized - Underground cables to the DVOR were also stolen.

ONE of the country’s DVOR (Doppler very High Frequency Omin Directional radio range) and DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) located at Betikama burgled and vandalized.

Chief technical engineer of the aviation aeronautical engineer section Phillip Kaisu said the vital airspace equipment were badly destroyed.

DVOR/DME were electronic navigational aid used by aviation to transmit accurate and specific directional information and distance measurement to pilots traveling in aircrafts.

Mr Kaisu said his team went to Betikama on Tuesday after being tipped off by farmers in the area and discovered the senseless damage.

“It was unacceptable, all equipment was destroyed and others removed.”

He said the burglars entered through the shelter door after smashing it open.

“The main switch board was also damaged.”

He added that all circuits’ breakers, batteries, ACs (alternating current), battery chargers, light fittings, GPO (General power outlet) were stolen.

“All antenna cables were cut with underground power supply cables dug out and stolen.”

He said the damage of the equipment is a loss to the aviation department of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation as such navigational aid is expensive and essential for aircrafts.

“Without such equipment, aircrafts may not be able to travel safely as these equipments are important to enable safe traveling, especially safe landing for aircrafts.”

Mr Kaisu said the damage of the navigational aid is a merciless act of criminality.

“The burglary must have occurred during the festive season; because that was the time we did not frequent the site.”

He said they used to travel and check the site weekly, but were not able to do it during the wet days because it makes traveling to the area difficult.

The chief technical engineer said those who did the damage knew how the equipment work, as they even removed the underground radio frequency cables.

He added that the criminal exercise would not take one day.

“It must have taken them a few days and involved a few people.”

He said there have been plans for the DVOR/DME to be rehabilitated, re-commissioned and sent to Munda to be used at the Munda Airport.

“Now the damage will cost the aviation department a lot of money and time to look for another DVOR/DME for Munda Airport which is currently being upgraded into an international standard.

“We call upon the public in and around Betikama area to come forward and report any suspects who may have involved.

Mr Kaisu also called upon companies buying scrape metals to help them if they come across any individual selling metal especially braid brass which were part of the radio frequency coaxial cables or any metal they suspect must be taken from the navigational aid.

“We need to work together to bring to justice those involved in the crime.”


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