Friday, November 11, 2011

Gusty winds among the causes of military aircraft’s crash-landing

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines —Gusty winds contributed to the crash-landing of an OV10 Broncho aircraft inside a military base here on Wednesday morning.

Major General Jose Tony Villarete, commander of the 3rd Air Division, said the already in trouble aircraft was set to land on the Edwin Andrews Airbase here when it encountered gusty winds.

Pilots Major David Trajano and Lieutenant Adonis Buscas were conducting a test flight mission to determine the air worthiness of the aircraft when it encountered engine problems.

Villarete said test flights were done when an aircraft had accumulated a total of 200 hours of flying time.

The OV10 jet took off at 9:02 a.m., but encountered engine trouble some 40 minutes later.

“While they were around 9,000 feet, while switching on and off the engine, they discovered the right engine was not working so they declared a precautionary landing,” Villarete said.

At the airport, fire trucks, emergency ambulances and the medical personnel were already in place.

“Everyone was watching and waiting for a successful landing,” Villarete said.

But as the aircraft was going down for landing, the airport’s tower advised the pilots to take extra precautions because of gusty wind, he added.

“While they were 50 feet above the ground, the aircraft was hit by wind gustiness of 20 knots. The plane turned upside down. Fortunately, Maj. Trajano was able to eject them from their seats,” Villarete added.

Trajano suffered a leg injury. Villarete said Buscas just “shook off the dust from his suit when he was brought to the Edwin Andrews Air Base hospital.”

The same aircraft was used in bomb runs in Al-Barka, Basilan, on October 18, and in sorties in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay and Indanan, Sulu late last month.

“With all those sorties and flying hours that reached 200 hours, it’s a standard operating procedure for an aircraft to undergo test flights,” Villarete said.

During test flights, Villarete said, an aircraft should not carry bombs.

“If it was for regular sorties and it crashed, definitely there will be bigger damage,” he said.

Despite the initial assessment, Villarete said the team from Philippine Air Force Aircraft Investigation Board arrived on Wednesday night to look into the accident.

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