AIB identifies brownout condition, inappropriate landing technique as cause of VP Osinbajo helicopter crash

The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB Nigeria has identified brownout condition during hover to land as the probable cause of the helicopter accident involving the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and his entourage in Kabba, Kogi state in 2019.

The AIB in the report released today also identified Inappropriate landing technique as contributory factor to the helicopter accident.

Speaking while releasing the final accident report on the AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopter operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited with nationality and registration marks as 5N-CML in Abuja, the commissioner of AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru explained that the flight crew encountered a brownout condition during the hover to land, which led to the loss of external visual references, spatial disorientation and loss of situational awareness resulting in a misjudgement of distance and ground clearance, as the flight crew tried to control the helicopter’s movements for landing.

Olateru said the helicopter landed hard and rolled over on its right side.

The AIB boss noted that inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing, lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation and planning prior to commencement of the flight also contributed to the crash.

He stated further that eleven days after the accident, the AIB issued two interim safety recommendations, one to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and one to Caverton Helicopters which were initiated and implemented promptly.

In its final report, the Bureau issued two safety recommendations which advised that the NCAA should conduct a Safety Management System (SMS) audit of Caverton Helicopters.

Olateru said the SMS audit by the NCAA should ensure that Caverton Helicopters has implemented the immediate safety recommendation 2019-003, and the recommendations documented in the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS investigation of the accident.

“The NCAA audit should also ascertain that the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS processes in the maintenance activities require the establishment of the reasons/causes of equipment failure/malfunction (reference is made to the failures of the Multi-Purpose Flight Recorder (MPFR) and the unavailability of the reasons of the failures), Olateru said in the safety recommendations.

He urged the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to consider whether the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) Unit should be involved in the coordination and preparation of all high profile Executive VIP mission (flights) in order to ensure that all Executive VIP flights are conducted in accordance with the PAF Unit’s Standards and in line with its approved operating procedures.

Aboard the flight were 12 persons including the Vice President, his entourage and three crew members (Pilot, Co-pilot and an Engineer).

The bureau also released the final report on the serious Incident involving Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft owned and operated by Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Ltd. with nationality and registration marks 5N-BPU, which occurred at FL240, 80 NM to Lagos on 18th April 2017.

Report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-42 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BNH owned and operated by the International Aviation College, which occurred on Runway 23 Ilorin International Airport on 1st of May, 2019

Report on the Serious Incident involving a Diamond DA-40 aircraft with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BRM owned and operated by International Aviation College, which occurred on Runway 23, Ilorin International Airport On 27th of March, 2014.

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