Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hornbill Skyways Bell 206 returned to base due to minor snag

Posted on February 14, 2012, Tuesday

KUCHING: The Hornbill Skyways seven-seat Bell 206 helicopter tasked to fly Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah to Betong, Debak and Spaoh on Saturday, had returned to the base due to a minor problem in its tail rotor vibration system, its director of Flight Operations Capt Mohd Hassan Suman said today.

He said the company’s standard operation procedure on the emergency response plan was never activated on the very day as the vibration was a common problem after a few hundred flying hours.

“A rectification carried out upon landing, where the engineering department was ready to prepare another aircraft to continue with the mission, found out that it was caused by the Bell 206′s air conditioning system,” he told a news conference here.

Uggah’s press secretary, Affendi Yusof, was quoted as saying that the minister’s scheduled trip, to meet the people, was duly cancelled.

Also on board the helicopter when it returned two minutes after the 8.30am take-off were ministry officers and Saribas State Assemblyman Mohammad Razi Sitam.

“After taking off, the pilot noticed a slight tail rotor vibration, which might not have been felt by ordinary passengers, and made a decision to return to base before requesting a replacement aircraft instead,” said Mohd Hassan.

Hornbill Skyways currently has 11 aircrafts, including the Bell 206 long ranger and euro copter, he said.

Scheduled aircraft maintenance were normally carried out after every 100 flying hours while the one involving the minister was an unscheduled one, he said.

He said declaration of emergency would only be made by an aircraft commander with respect to a situation that might jeopardize the passengers’ safety and aircraft, followed by an emergency drill to land the aircraft as soon as deemed practicable, possible or immediately. – Bernama

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