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Unsafe Operation - Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

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Unsafe Operation - Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

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Old 11th Feb 2013, 02:42
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Devil Unsafe Operation - Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

I was a flight instructor at LIFT until recently

We suffered numerous power loss problems in all three of the aircraft over the last 6 months. At first the power loss incidents were only once a week until November when we were experiencing problems almost everyday. At that point, we had no choice but to stop flying the aircraft. Unfortunately, management did not appreciate the safety issues involved and we were all told that if we did not continue to fly the aircraft we would all be fired from our jobs.

Management were advised back in August 2012 that the problem was caused by the fuel they were using and that they needed to import fuel from somewhere else such as Australia. Unfortunately they did not act on that advice and fuel from Australia never came.

I have never met Denis as he had already left by the time I joined the company, but he is right to say that LIFT is an unsafe operation.

The chief mechanic wrote an email to the owner Mr Edmond Fung on 2nd September 2012 and said...

“Honestly, we (maintenance department) are a lack of experience to maintain piston engine”

Paul Everitt (Liberty Expert and Consultant to Mr Edmond Fung) wrote to Mr Fung on 20th August 2012 and said.....

“Lives are directly at risk because of this situation. If we continue to use bad fuel and then have an accident as a result of this, LIFT will have no way out in any legal case, as it will be entirely our fault”.

He also wrote ......

“So there is no doubt that they (BP Australia) can supply good 100LL Avgas at less cost that what we are paying now, although shipping etc will add to it”

There is also photographic evidence of the ‘contamination of the fuel’ and a audio clip of the owner (Edmond Fung) admitting there is a ‘problem with the fuel’ from a meeting I had with him on 7th December 2012.

The purpose of my post is to give you information and not simply rumours.

If you are thinking of going to LIFT as an instructor, you will be flying aircraft that suffer from ‘power loss’ on an almost daliy basis with a management team that will force you to fly the aircraft regardless of how unsafe it is. You will also find yourself unable to leave the country without first paying between $3000 - $4000 back to LIFT to cover the cost of your flight, work permit and medical. There is a Russian instructor there now who is having this problem and he is still unable to leave after 1 month of trying to get out of Indonesia.

If you are thinking of going to a LIFT as a student, you will be joining a flight school with more than 40 students who need in excess of 8000 instructional hours with no flight instructors in an unsafe training environment. Even if the aircraft were airworthy and they imported fuel today;and they found 6 instructors overnight, it would take the company almost 1 year to clear the backlog of students before you started your flight training.

Myself and the other instructors are currently suing LIFT for wrongful dismissal. This is not abuse or rumour. Our case is based on fact and I certainly would not employ a lawyer if I did not have a strong case to take to a court of law.

If you would like to see the emails, photos and recordings concerning the operation there, send me a PM and I will forward the documentation to you.

Last edited by Gold Seal; 11th Feb 2013 at 02:46.
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 12:42
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The bigger picture here is that, one never surrenders their passport to and employer, unless required by law!

Further make sure that you have a R/T out of the country in question.

If this is truly the only issue for the Russian, then Gold Seal, you need to take the point, and suggest that he contact his embassy with immediate effect, for assistance.
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 15:32
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The truth

I am an ex-PPL, CPL, and IR student at the Lombok Institute of Flight
Technology, and am continuing to study at LIFT for my FI (Flight
Instructor) rating (currently).

I am posting this as I, a former student of the company,would like to
clear up issues regarding these problems while our past instructors were at LIFT. Posts coming from these 3 instructors are biased,
and while some points may be true and valid, others are a false
exaggerations, with more regard to personal disputes.

At that point, we had no choice but to stop flying the
aircraft. Unfortunately, management did not appreciate the safety
issues involved and we were all told that if we did not continue to
fly the aircraft we would all be fired from our jobs.
The management, engineers and every department in LIFT, DID NOT ONCE
doubt the decision made by an FI or student to cancel, or postpone any
flight due to safety reasons. I can personally say this as many times,
I have postponed a flight due to W/X, or completely cancelled it, with
the mutual agreement with an instructor, if its an aircraft Issue.
Both the management, and engineering team agreed with our responsible
decision, with little asked. Eventually, when a high amount of flights
were cancelled by one of the junior instructors (no names mentioned),
things began to get stupid. One flight was cancelled, and the instructor wanted the aircraft grounded (I have maintenance logs as proof), due to
'inoperative nav light' (left wingtip). As any good pilot knows, these
lights are only required during operations between sunset and sunrise.
To the engineers, myself, and other students, this was not a problem
with the aircraft, but a lack of motivation to fly.

This leads to my next point, being fired for not wanting to fly.
I can understand 100% not wanting to fly due to reasons with power
surges/losses etc. However, when it comes down to grounding an
aircraft due to a single light, it shows laziness to fly, not an
aircraft problem.

I am limited in where I can comment, as I would not like to give any
comment on areas where my knowledge is not sufficient. In the case of
the aircraft, I can personally confirm that there is no problem
whatsoever with regarding safety and the performance of the aircraft.
Various maintenance flights (both local, and to the nearby island of Sumbawa
Besar) have been completed with exceptional results. I have written a
formal report regarding the flights, analyzing each phase of
flight and how the aircraft performed (these reports will be happily
be shown).

After completing test flights, suggestions were made to TCM (Teledyne
Continental Motors), the engine manufacturer, to leave the Aux Fuel
Pump in the 'ON' position during all transitions TO and FROM level
flight (All climbs and descents, including take-offs and landings, and
maneuvers requiring changes in power and/or altitude). This has
eliminated any possibility of fuel vaporization in the fuel injection
system.

Even the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with teams of experienced and
world class engineers working behind the scenes, still have problems under the close scrutiny of FAA, therefore, as long as we handle our issues pro-active and
positively, safety will still be preserved.

It's sad to say, as a fresh CPL holder, at a young age of 20, I would
have expected to see more respect, and discipline within the aviation
industry, regardless of where in the world we are located. I just
honestly hope whoever reads this, is responsible enough to make a
proper judgement call for themselves. I am not in any way saying LIFT
may not have its various problems, but please remember, this is a new
institution, under pressure of all sorts of factors within the
aviation industry domestically and internationally.

Safe flying to everyone out there!

Best Regards,
Jack Forrest
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Old 11th Feb 2013, 22:04
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So Jack,

Are you saying there was a fuel vaporisation issue and a workaround using the aux pump during absolutely normal phases of flight had to be created?

An exceptional result indeed.

Rob
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 03:24
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Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

Unfortunately for the Russian instructor, as soon as you land in Indonesia, your work visa does not give you the automatic right to leave the country. You are only able to do that with an Exit Permit, stamped in your passport, which is applied for by the company that is sponsoring you after your arrival.

The Russian instructor tried leaving on an ‘Etihad’ flight 3 weeks ago from Jakarta but he was stopped from getting on the flight because of his lack of this permit. Fortunately, he now has legal representation here and his lawyer is discussing the issue with Lombok Immigration. I do not want to say too much about his current status as this is an ongoing issue, but his embassy has already been contacted.Unfortunately, it is not just a simple case that a Russian Diplomat can escort him to the gate so that he can leave Indonesia.

Last edited by Gold Seal; 12th Feb 2013 at 03:25.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 03:50
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Rob,

This is going as per recommendations from TCM (the engine manufacturer as mentioned earlier). I can understand their logic behind this, due to the temperature and humidity here in Indonesia.

As of now, it seems to have yielded successful results for our school, and we hope (and are very positive), that this remains to be the case.

Warm Regards,
Jack Forrest
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 05:04
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As of now, it seems to have yielded successful results for our school, and we hope (and are very positive), that this remains to be the case.
I think Rob was being sarcastic in his comments there. You have an abnormal situation whereby aux pumps are being used to rectify it. So, now you plan on using your aux pumps as though it's a normal procedure to do so?
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 05:41
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Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

LIFT management continually doubted the decisions of the instructors and that is why we were given the ultimatum in a meeting on 7th December, that we either “flew the aircraft or we were out of Indonesia”.

There is no biased opinion of the situation here. Simply, the school has suffered from numerous power losses of varying degree over several months. The four instructors were ultimately fired because the situation grew worse and we could no longer fly the aircraft and maintain a level of safety. Instead of appreciating the seriousness of this issue, LIFT management forced the instructors into a situation where they either flew the aircraft or they lost their jobs. We all understand that flight instructing is a business that requires turnover (in this case flight hours), however safety is the key to any aviation business and this can never be compromised. LIFT management do not share this view and below is an email from Edmond Fung (owner of LIFT) to a prospective Spanish instructor in December which demonstrates this...



> Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2012 00:12:19 +0700

> Subject: Re: Documents Pedro Diaz
>
> Pedro.
>
> Yes, we have problem due to fuel issue and we have been proactive to
> solve the problem.
> Our FI lost their confidence in Mechanics.
> I do not want to say bad things on others especially they are young guys
> and still need a future.
>
> BIFA last year has three planes down, we are lucky still keeping a clean
> record.
>
> If this is your decision. We will respect it.
>
> Regards,
> Edmond.



You can clearly see that Mr Fung acknowledges that the problem is created by the fuel and that LIFT is ‘lucky’not to have had an accident up until that point. But what is more concerning is that he is quoting another schools accident record..... is he suggesting that there is some sort of ‘acceptable number of accidents’ that can be tolerated even when there is a known problem with the operation ?

I would also like to clarify a point regarding Fuel Vaporization. In November 2012, one of Mr Fung’s expat engineers asked the four instructors to turn on the ‘boost pump’ during any power loss incidents to see whether the engines would recover from the problem. I personally tried this and on two occasions, it made nodifference to the power loss. One of the incidents was on upwind and the aircraft would not climb higher than 300 feet AGL. The issue is not Fuel Vaporization

Last edited by Gold Seal; 12th Feb 2013 at 06:02.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 10:05
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I am limited in where I can comment, as I would not like to give any
comment on areas where my knowledge is not sufficient. In the case of
the aircraft, I can personally confirm that there is no problem
whatsoever with regarding safety and the performance of the aircraft.
Various maintenance flights (both local, and to the nearby island of Sumbawa
Besar) have been completed with exceptional results. I have written a
formal report regarding the flights, analyzing each phase of
flight and how the aircraft performed (these reports will be happily
be shown).

After completing test flights, suggestions were made to TCM (Teledyne
Continental Motors), the engine manufacturer, to leave the Aux Fuel
Pump in the 'ON' position during all transitions TO and FROM level
flight (All climbs and descents, including take-offs and landings, and
maneuvers requiring changes in power and/or altitude). This has
eliminated any possibility of fuel vaporization in the fuel injection
system.

Even the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with teams of experienced and
world class engineers working behind the scenes, still have problems under the close scrutiny of FAA, therefore, as long as we handle our issues pro-active and
positively, safety will still be preserved.

Based on your comments it is quite obvious that you lack some knowledge.


As far as I can see, the aircraft was tested for around 7 hours since the day that the fleet was grounded by the instructors at the end of November.

http://s7.postimage.org/c7kgt3djv/Sp...ks2_page_1.jpg
http://s17.postimage.org/e6g2m2ctr/S...cks_page_1.jpg

That is low quantity of flight time for any kind of testing. Testing 1 aircraft out of 3, especially that particular one being PKLLA, which had the least amount of power losses or incidents, surely cannot be good safety management practices.
Anyway, going back to the operation, the fuel contamination started to have negative effect on the engine, after approximately 15 hours of tach time. That was how long it took due to the extensive cleaning (and occasional replacement) of the various fuel system parts done by the maintenance department.

A report based on test flights written by a fresh CPL holder who is obviously very interested in working for LIFT is not objective.
(Expat with Indonesian license is not able to get a job outside of Indonesian territory, or a jet job in Indonesia due to the current restrictions for Expats Govt Tightens Rules on Use of Foreign Pilots by Indonesian Airlines | The Jakarta Globe, or even as FI, due to the restrictions for Expats FIs or usual requirements as FIs Job Opportunity | Bali International Flight Academy).

I think comparing Boeing with Liberty is really ambitious:

- Boeing was founded in 1916.

- Liberty was founded in 2000 and only produced the model XL2, based on a VLA (Europe XS). They are not really famous for being a successful seller unlike Cessna, Piper or EADS. They are going through financial problems and they've only manufactured a couple of aircraft since 2011. Therefore, at this time Liberty is mainly a composite producer not an aircraft producer. Liberty Aerospace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
If you google a bit, you will realize that not many other schools use the Liberty XL2 as a trainer aircraft. Specially after some fatal accidents in Malaysia or Australia. And very recently two more in Europe, both crashed on upwind. Aviation Safety Network > ASN Aviation Safety WikiBase > ASN Aviation Safety Database results

- In a serious flight school, any incident afeccting safety and human lives (power losses, engine malfunctions or engine failures) is automatically reported (FAA & JAA is mandatory) to the DGCA by the safety officer or department in charge of the safety/quality of the FTO.
In LIFT flight academy, all the crews and aircraft, and many of the students, were suffering engine problems, and dangerous power losses for more than 6 months. They were all related to fuel contamination.
After the last occurrences, the flight crew understood that management had no interest in solving the underlying problem. Management was far more interested in keeping the aircraft off the ground than in trying to find a viable solution. And no, more test flying was out of the question. The FIs had been doing so for 6 months, that is why the flight department took a stand.

- B787 was grounded by FAA and EASA after an emergency landing, not by ANA pilots.
BBC News - Dreamliner: Boeing 787 planes grounded on safety fears

- FAA clears the test flights for the B787 almost a month later of the incident. FAA Gives All Clear For 787 Test Flights

- LIFT management verbally fired all the FIs after a week of grounding the fleet, not reporting officially to the authorities the engine problems recorded during the las 6 months, nor the fact that they fired the entire flight department.

- LIFT management encourages a fresh CPL holder to carry on Test flights, 7 hours of flight time in the same aircraft, and concludes that it is not a fuel contamination issue, but it is FUEL VAPORIZATION, and the solution is to keep the auxiliary fuel pump ON during all flight operation. Besides the obvious, this is not legal. Any major change or deviation in the flight procedures has to approved by the manufacturer, receiving previous clearance from FAA (in this case), and has to be amended in the POH, FCOM, or AFM…

Safety is only preserved IF we fly by the books, following the air law, and learning from the experience, not from the mistakes.



Good luck and good flights;

An Spaniard flyboy fired.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 05:27
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Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

Below is a link to a website showing the flights that LIFT have flown over the last 2 months since we were fired. This information completely contradicts what PK-JACK has stated in this forum.

https://app.spidertracks.com/Home.mvc/ViewUserTracks?sid=wioyHnGt9tP0hNtoNYtTStWiPkNQ0GJoBG1yNy-s3svzmm5X2JcWZdWBfEl9qtob


Quote....

“Various maintenance flights (both local,and to the nearby island of Sumbawa
Besar) have been completed with exceptional results”


What results ? Only one out of the threeaircraft has been flown since the instructors grounded the aircraft. The ‘Spidertracker’website clearly shows that only PK-LLA has flown since 7th December.PK-LLB and PK-LLC are not even at the airport. They were ‘trucked’ to the company’s hangar at the closed ‘Selaparang Airport’ in December and they have remained there ever since. Also a round trip to Sumbawa at an average of 90 kts indicated airspeed takes approximately 2 hours. The longest flight listed on the ‘Spidertracker’ is only 1 hour 10 minutes.


Quote...

“For everyone else reading this, I would personally like to confirm no problems longer exist with the aircraft. A numerous amount of test flights have been undertaken on the aircraft, with highly experienced engineers, one of which actually on the team of initial engineers who helped to design the aircraft, and consultations with TCM (theXL2 engine manufacturer), have confirmed that the aircraft are performing at exceptional levels”

How can you state that the aircraft are performing at exceptional levels when only one of the XL2’s has been flown ?There has not been numerous test flights as you state as the majority of these nine flights have been performed with a local instructor and students.


Quote...

“All of them issues have now been fixed,and 12 flights over 1 1/2 weeks have taken place flawlessly”

There has been only 9 flights since 7th December 2012 and they have all been in PK-LLA. The other two aircraft (PK-LLC and PK-LLB) were ‘trucked’ to the company’s hangar and have not been flown once since 7th December.



In one of your posts, you quote...

Regardless of the issue, keeping to the truth is always the best idea in any issue/debate. That way, the public will not be misinformed with any false information.

....You should really take your own advice and keep to the truth yourself so that potential students and instructors are not given false information about the operation at LIFT

Last edited by Gold Seal; 14th Feb 2013 at 05:28.
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Old 18th Feb 2013, 01:22
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Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

LIFT's Lawyers letter is completely inaccurate and it is a blatant disregard for the truth.

All four instructors were fired verbally on 7th December and we all received our 'termination' letters on 12th December. I have tried to upload a copy of one of these letters to this thread but I dont have the 'user rights' to do that.

We were also asked to leave the hotel on 14th December and I have my room service and laundry bill to show that I will still there until that date.

Our case against LIFT was filed against the company with the Mataram Court on 15th February 2013, and I will upload our lawyers response to LIFT's letter in the Jakarta Post as soon as it is printed by the newspaper.

The truth to this situation will be shown in court and LIFT will be asked to explain their actions so that there is a public record of their unprofessional and illegal actions.
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Old 18th Feb 2013, 03:05
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Lombok Institute of Flight Technology - LIFT

I am pleased to say that the Russian Instructor was finally able to leave Indonesia on Saturday. Lombok Immigration escorted him to Bandara International Airport to make sure there were no problems in getting him onto the flight to Singapore in transit to Moscow.

Unfortunately the Russian Embassy were unable to help him, but local immigration and Gede Sukarmo (a local lawyer) were able to intervene.

Good news, although it did take 5 weeks for him to get permission to leave the country.
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Old 15th Aug 2013, 10:58
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Any more news on this outfit? I flew in the area last week and didn't hear any calls from them.
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Old 19th Aug 2013, 20:17
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Edmond Fungs (LIFT's) Lawyers settled our claims for wrongful dismissal in the civil court in Mataram, Lombok. He paid a total of 42,000 USD to the three of us that pursued a claim against the company.

I have heard that there is very little flying taking place at LIFT but I can't confirm that as I left Lombok a few months ago
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Old 15th Oct 2013, 17:24
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LIFT

I am sorry to hear about your issues with LIFT

Unfortunately the second and final training payment to the company is payable once you start you PPL, so at that point you really are in a difficult position with all your money being tied up in the flight school

If you are going to sue LIFT you will need a good lawyer to attend mediation on your behalf in Mataram. We instructed Mr Gede Sukarmo of Mataram whose offices are close to the court. This should help to reduce your lawyers costs by using a local guy instead of having a Jakarta based attorney whose travelling costs and expenses you will be responsible for

Gede was excellent in our case and I'm sure he would be happy to help you too

Good luck with getting your money back and I hope you are able to complete your training elsewhere
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Old 13th Dec 2014, 04:34
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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16 month ongoing refund battle with LIFT

My son signed out from LIFT October 2013, due to lack of flying opportunities to accumulate the hours.
In December 2013 a settlement was finally agreed with LIFT, and a refund schedule was subsequently drafted and signed.
Now, 12 months later, December 2014, we are still awaiting the agreed amounts to be returned. Moving into 2015, we almost have lost all hope of seeing this significant amount ever being returned to us.
Anyone reading this, please post your suggestions.
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Old 18th Dec 2014, 04:30
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Other LIFT - rejected Refund Cases

Our legal team in Jakarta/ Mataram would like to get in touch with any other former PPL/ CPL students from LIFT, who also have not been able to receive their refunds by LIFT.
Thus far we have identified 2 other cases. With an large group we will be in a better position to fight LIFT in the court, in 2015, and force them in this manner to make the refunds to their former students.

Please post your response and email id; our legal team will get in touch with you shortly
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Old 28th Apr 2015, 19:30
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LIFT - Refund Case

@ppldown

I'm curious to know if you ever received your money back from LIFT, as per the agreement that you signed with them?
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Old 6th May 2015, 17:07
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LIFT Airplane

Bottom Line: No, the aircraft was never located or recovered.
Although the impact zone was known to within a half mile (satellite tracking and eye witnesses, see below), the water depths in that area (from 300 to 650 feet) made the search very difficult.
Citing security concerns, the Indonesian government's Search & Recovery organization (BASARNAS) would not allow LIFT to place their own private S&R team on site which is what LIFT had requested, and BASARNAS also refused to release any search data that they had gathered, which would have allowed LIFT to learn more about the possible location of the aircraft. We (LIFT USA representative) even located the US company who supplied the Sonar and ROV equipment to BASARNAS originally, in the hope that the highly trained US representatives could work with BASARNAS in the recovery effort, but again BASARNAS refused to allow them to be involved.
After exhausting all possible options and avenues that LIFT had available, the search was called off by BASARNAS towards the end of December after two months of their searching.
Not a happy outcome for anyone involved, especially for the parents of the two lost souls.

As to maintenance - after full investigation of all maintenance records by the DGCA and interviews with pilots and students who flew the aircraft during two prior flights that day with zero squawks, no mechanical or electrical issues were suspected.

Based on the last satellite tracking pings received from the aircraft (LIFT has SpiderTracks satellite tracking systems installed in all their aircraft to monitor location live throughout all flights), there is some speculation as to what may have happened whilst conducting the commercial maneuvers that were being taught during the mission, however without recovery of the aircraft, we will never know what actually happened.

Last edited by FlyFloats; 6th May 2015 at 17:19.
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