Barely two months after the presidency handed over two aircraft in the Presidential fleet to the Nigerian Air Force, investigation has revealed that one of the ballistics defence capable aircraft has been seemingly, poorly managed and crashed at the Nigerian Air Force base, Makurdi.
TheNewsGuru.com gathered from a top, reliable source that one of the aircraft, Agusta AW 101, a medium-lift helicopter specially designed for military operations, got crashed less than a month after the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of it from the presidency, due to poor training of crew members saddled to man the operations of the aircraft.
The two aircraft at the handover ceremony on October 10, 2016
When contacted, the Nigerian Air Force, P.R.O., Group Captain Dele Famuyiwa, denied the report that one of the aircraft crashed.
In a telephone conversation with TheNewsGuru.com, Famuyiwa said that the aircraft was not involved in a crash but an incidence of little effect.
“It was not a crash. I wouldn’t call it a crash because it just fell on the ground in Makurdi.”
“I can say maybe it was an incident. You know accident is a higher degree of incidence. It was just an occurrence that did not take any life or equipment. Cars can malfunction and the same thing with any machine.”
Famuyiwa said that the incidence was not in away a result of low training and skill of crew member as the same crew which managed the aircraft at the presidency still manage the aircraft at the air force base.
However, pictures obtained by TheNewsGuru as well as the information gathered, revealed that the aircraft was in a damaged position.
He confirmed that the aircraft have since been repainted from the initial white and green to camouflage.
Asked about the status of the aircraft and the number of persons affected by the crash, our source revealed that although the damages were significant, no life was lost to the crash.
“No fatality but significant damage to aircraft considering the fact that they hardly do insurance in the military.”
“The flight engineer was injured.”
It was gathered that one of the aircraft was due for a Periodic Deport Maintenance, PDM, only a day after the handover ceremony from the Presidency to the Nigerian Air Force.
The Presidency had on October 10, 2016 handed over the two ballistics defence capable aircraft from the Presidential fleet to the Nigerian Air Force, with a view to reduce government’s expenditure.
During the handover ceremony at the Presidential wing of the Abuja Airport, the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Abubakar who received the aircraft said one of the aircraft would be configured and deployed as ambulance while the second would be deployed as troop carrier, especially for operations against the Boko Haram sect in the North-eastern region of the country.
Findings by the TheNewsGuru revealed that the aircraft, Agusta AW101, which is a large armoured helicopter cost about $21million each (N10.5billion) making it 130% more expensive than the average aircraft of its class.
With the crash of the aircraft, it is apparent that Nigeria may have, despite the crush of an economic recession, lost about N10.5billion to the airforce handling and operating of one of the two aircraft.
Further investigation on the status of the second aircraft released to the Air Force, revealed that it is currently parked for maintenance, a situation which the Air Force P.R.O. confirmed.
The two aircraft were bought by the Federal Government between October 20, 2014 and May 21, 2015.
Famuyiwa explained that activities are on to fully optimise the aircraft for military usage as the aircraft were originally designed for State use, flying VIPs, leaving the aircraft with limited seats and space for military activities.
He further said that while the reconfiguration process is on, the aircraft had been in use until the recent incidence on one of the aircraft while the second has been turned in for maintenance.
According to him, one of the aircraft was used in flying the 21 Chibok girls, who were recently rescued from the Boko Haram sect, to Abuja.
Famuyiwa, however, did not confirm when the aircraft will be fully functional and ready for usage.
Amour-plated with 6pax max, Agusta AW101 is capacitated to transport up to 30 passengers, 11 more than competitors of a similar size, having a spacious cabin and toilet facility.
The AW101 can fly as far as 570 nautical miles on a tank of fuel, a range that’s 143 mi farther than other similarly sized rotorcraft. Its maximum altitude ceiling (HOGE) is 1300 feet, which is 4,710 ft lower than average for its class. Top speed comes in at 150 knots, or right on par with the speed of the average large helicopter.
Source:The News Guru