Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said that the Regulatory Authority suspended operations of Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Sikorsky S-76C++ type indefinitely in order to prevent future occurrence.
Usman, in an exclusive chat with NEWSVERGE after briefing aviation correspondents on the Bristow Helicopters’ controlled ditching on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, in Lagos, said that the agency noticed the company has more than one of the helicopters (same series) and that a measure must be taken to stop controlled ditching.
He mentioned that the suspension will enable the authority carry out a full scale audit on its operations with particular emphasis on its Sikorsky S-76C++ type.
Though, he said the decision were without prejudice to the investigations being conducted by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), adding that as a matter of fact, it would serve to assist in the entire process.
NCAA, he added would fully support AIB in the investigation.
The Director-General noted that the Sikorsky S-76 aircraft is an American medium – size commercial utility helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
The S-76 features twin turbo shaft engines; four-bladed main and tail rotors. It has a retractable landing gear.
Sikorsky’s development began in the mid-1970s with the design goal of providing a medium helicopter for corporate transportation and the oil drilling industry.
The prototype first flew on March 13, 1977, while initial United States Federal Aviation Administration type certification was granted on November 21, 1978.
He mentioned that in August, 2015, a Bristow Helicopter operated Sikorsky S-76 series crashed around Oworonshoki axis in Lagos.
“What this means is that yesterday’s incident is occurring a little over six months after the preceding one.
“As a responsible Regulatory Authority, it is important to stem this rapidity of occurrence and ensure the airline carry out safe operations.
“I must also mention that this suspension of operations for the impending wholesale audit is not a vote of no confidence on the airline. It is to ascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type.
“This is not new in the industry, it is one of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) all over the world.”
Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General, NCAA however reiterated that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), will continue to ensure our airline operators continue to carry out safe and secure operations.