Thank you again Ngami Times. A nice reminder as the season gets under way. Perhaps a statement from our friend SS of Moremi Air. After all it's only over 7 months since the last and only one. I did see her in town a few weeks ago so she has come from under her desk at least!
Recently this newspaper highlighted the concerns of pilots around the world into the non-appearance of an accident report on what happened to the Moremi Air plane in the delta last year.
Readers will recall that nine people, including the very experienced pilot, died when the plane plunged into the ground and burned out.
Despite numerous requests to the Department of Transport there is still nothing available and this has resulted in rumours circulating that there was something wrong with the engine and that therefore the pilot had no chance of saving his or his passengers' lives.
So what was the real cause?
Shuffle waits with bated breath for someone to come up with the answers as Maun cannot put this matter to rest until we know the answers.
There was no doubt in the mind's of anyone who knew Martin that the ONLY reason he put the plane down where he did was that there was NO other option left open to him. He had been left with an unflyable aircraft and very little time or height in which to do anything about it.
So its all kind of academic whether the powers that be in Botswana want to release the report or not - the information is out that the engine manufacturers have concluded the engine failure was due to major blade failure.
Its not going to bring Martin or his passengers back, and it'll probably be lost in the mists of time, but the next question is "Why did the engine fail"? How many times had that engine been over-temped, over-torqued by pilots who didn't declare it. Did it have ADAS or manual trend monitoring. Was there a trend that was ignored? What did the last blade inspection reveal - when a blade is removed, cut and inspected? Any FOD that wasn't declared/ignored??
Its a kind of sobering thought that as a pilot - just because you were tired/stressed that day, that the airstrip was shorter, pax were heavier, take-off was worse than expected, you weren't paying attention to the gauges - BUT it was okay, I got away with it, no-one need know, no-one will know, nothing bad happened - that we may have signed the death warrant on some poor innocent sod in the future.
What about trusting the people we work with - the 'stud' pilots who also fly the same aircraft but are so busy building hours to move to the big jets, who don't really care about the engines out in front of them because hey, they're not going to be around flying small plane for very long anyway, and fresh out of flight school they're invincible anyway. Or the old boy who is beginning to 'lose it' but won't admit that he's slow on power control, who's getting tired but isn't going to be told anything by these kids with so few hours.
Everyone of us who flies has a responsibility to those come after us. Look after the engine in the way that you want everyone else to, make sure that you haven't done something stupid/wrong that is going to cost someone's life in the future. We're human, not gods - so own up when something happens. And trust that the people you work with will do the same. If you're not sure about that - remember Martin, and move on before IT happens to you.
Sound and profound thoughts indeed and an excellent identification of one of the major problems confronting both aviation safety and modern aviation recruitment practice. I refer of course to the stud pilots and those kids with so few hours both of whom fly turbines on their way to the starry heights of what passes these days, amongst those who know no better, for pure jet propulsion. Old boys are gentle with power systems if only because their hands are gnarled and weakened from years of raising laden glasses and engaging reverse thrust whenever encountering challenging landing considerations in or out of the boudoir. Young whopper snippers should all be banned by international regulations from going near anything other than a normally aspirated engine until they have at least a certain minimum of flight experience, say two thousand hours as a conservative estimate? Aircraft engine manufacturers should insist upon this anti-abuse proviso as part of any propulsion supply contract to aircraft manufacturers. Altogether an excellent and heart rending evocation but one which, one fears, will fall wide of the wax filled ears of the youthful aviator of today. That would though keep the wyenas and the hild dogs of the skies at bay!
A reality style series was filmed around the same time as the AKD accident.
Below is a link to the "teaser". Note that the pilot declaring "complete" Engine failure is in fact a Moremi Air Pilot, presumably in a Moremi Air plane. It seems that they clearly haven't changed, but then, I don't think anyone who knows the company and more specifically the management would have expected anything else.
What is annoying about this series is that there is a lot of emphasis placed on the dangers of flying in the delta, however, the film crew were told to make no mention whatsoever about the crash, even though it happened around the same time of their filming. Apparently the charter companies were happy to promote the dangers of flying in the delta, but not the consequences.
That makes it even worse.. to present a promo video, with the pilot declaring total engine failure, and someone in the background asking "are we going to make it" when not long before, that same charter company lost 9 people to an engine failure.
I believe Pratt & Whitney confirmed it was the engine awhile ago, apparently the official report was released and said engine failure was the cause. Havent read it myself, but im sure some research could give you the answers
The report has been released to the people directly involved it seems, and the main cause of the accident is engine failure due to a thrown blade just after lift-off leaving an unflyable plane. No surprises there so far.
However, can someone please help explain how the fact that Martin had recently resigned and what the soil was at Xakanaka airstrip had to do with the PT6 throwing a blade?? They are not listed as direct causes but are contributing factors?? If Martin was in charge of maintenance or had direct responsibility for the engine it might be applicable but he didn't.
To quote a local phrase "now, me myself am confused"....