Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Human Error Caused UNMIN Chopper Crash

THT Online
Kathmandu, June 18

The government-formed commission to investigate into the UNMIN chopper crash in Ramechhap district concluded on Tuesday that the human error was the reason behind the incident, which took lives of 10 persons on March 3.
The MI-8MTV-1 helicopter Ra-27019, operated by Vertical-T for the United Nations Mission in Nepal, crashed in Bethan-9 in Ramechhap, killing all seven passengers and three-member crew.
"The investigation has concluded that the chopper crashed due to the violation of regulation, lack of experience and familiarisation with local terrain and weather as well as poor handling of flight control system by the flight crew in an emergency situation," said Dron Raj Regmi, the chief of the commission.
The report raised doubts over the ability of Russian pilot. However, it failed to elaborate why and how both engines were shut down. "There was no record of the crew's conversation in the flight deck," Regmi said. The Cockpit Voice Recorder also could not be used in the course of investigation, as it was not set to the starting position before the first flight of the day, he said.
"The crew conducted flight in a helicopter certified for Visual Flight Rules into Instrumental Meteorological Condition and encountered the clouds. Severe turbulence and absence of visual cues led to spatial disorientation among the crew members, leading to loss of control of the helicopter," the report states. "The flight crew decided to take the flight to 4,000 metres to avoid difficult terrain and weather without acquiring a weather forecast and without route planning."
The report adds that after the engine shut, the pilot in command was unable to bring the helicopter safely to the ground in autorotation. The Russian pilot was said to have only 10 hours of flight experience in Nepali terrain and also had problem in communicating in English.
The commission has recommended the Civil Aviation Authority of Russia to take steps to prohibit the wrong practice of flight crew of helicopter carrying out Instrumental Flight Rules flights for VFR certified helicopters.
"The UN should designate responsible persons for engineering, quality control, chief pilot, store in-charge," the report adds.
It states that the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal should make the foreigners operating aircraft here aware of safety regulations of the country.
The report was handed over to the secretary at Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Lilamani Paudyal

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