(PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III bared on Tuesday the results of the investigation of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on the ill-fated Piper Seneca that killed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, saying it was mainly due to pilot error.
The President said three months have passed since the untimely death of Secretary Robredo on August 18, and that “we owe it to the victims to find out what really happened.”
President Aquino also said that 23 minutes after the plane took off at Mactan Airport, the pilot already knew that one of his engines malfunctioned.
The CAAP also found that Bahinting extended landing gears and flaps even if he was not sure he would be able to land the aircraft, which was contrary to the Piper Seneca Manual Procedures for twin engine planes.
The probe body also found that Aviatour’s staff, are not authorized by the manufacturer to serve as aircraft maintenance mechanics. Aviatour is the company that owns the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane.
He said there was also collusion between Aviatours and a CAAP inspector who certified to the plane’s airworthiness.
Based on the investigation report, President Aquino said, the right hand propeller of the plane was replaced in November 2011. CAAP inspector Fernando Abalos has cleared the aircraft, saying the result of the test flight was satisfactory. However, the CAAP probe team found no record of the test flight.
To avoid a repeat of the incident, President Aquino said he directed the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and CAAP to implement reforms that would strengthen the aviation industry.
He also ordered for a re-audit of all licenses and permits previously approved by CAAP.
The President also ordered for a review of the operational guidelines of Flying Schools, Air Taxi, and other groups related to the aircraft industry in the country.
President Aquino also ordered DOTC and CAAP to improve the mechanism to ensure safety of passengers.
Meanwhile, CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss said he already ordered the creation of a special body to look into the civil, administrative and criminal liabilities of those involved in the plane crash, including those within the agency.
He said he assigned CAAP Assistant Director General Abdiel Fajardo to investigate the individuals concerned. (PNA)
Related post about Jesse Robredo, here: The Jesse Robredo Spell: How Long Will It Last?