The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to inaugurate an independent inquiry into aviation fuel quality in the country.
The AIB Commissioner, Mr Akin Olateru, made the recommendation while presenting two accident reports and a bulletin to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.
Our correspondent reports that the bureau presented a report on the accident involving a Nigeria Police Force Bell helicopter which led to the death of four persons on March 14, 2008 at Kabong, Plateau State.
The AIB also presented a report on the serious incident involving a Tampico TB9 aircraft belonging to the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), which occurred on Oct. 6, 2008 at the Zaria Aerodrome in Kaduna.
It also released a bulletin on the ground collision incident involving two Boeing aircraft belonging to Air Peace Airlines Limited at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on April 20, 2017.
Olateru said the recommendation for the NCAA and DPR to investigate the quality of aviation fuel was informed by the bureau’s investigation into the NPF chopper crash which led to the death of a Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr John Haruna, and three others.
According to him, the resulting report should focus on the vulnerability and risk of each step in the fuel distribution process.
“This should yield firmer regulatory oversight mechanisms that will ensure the international quality of aviation fuels used in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that the cause of the incident could not be conclusively decided but the investigation discovered a series of discrepancies and non-compliance with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.
He said the pilot’s medical certificate and simulator currency had expired as at the time of the accident, while the co-pilot was not type-rated on the Bell 427 helicopter.
Olateru said the engineer that released the aircraft, prior to the flight, also had no type training and type rating on the aircraft type.
He, therefore, advised the NPF Air-wing to provide the proper funding, conducive working environment and develop a robust training programme for its technical personnel, with adequate supervision and approved equipment, to enhance safety.
On the NCAT crash, the commissioner said the causal factor was the inability of the student pilot to maintain directional control of the aircraft after touchdown.
He said though there was no fatality, the AIB among other recommendations, advised NCAT to procure and train relevant personnel to conduct toxicology examination in its Aero Medical facility, which had since been complied with.
Olateru also noted that the ground collision between the two aircraft belonging to Air Peace at the GAT was unfortunate, as it led to loss of revenue for the airline operator.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to engage more marshallers and also establish a quasi-Apron Control Room at the domestic terminal, to forestall such incidents in future.
The AIB commissioner who noted that 22 final reports on accident investigations were still pending, reiterated the bureau’s commitment to its mandate of speedy completion of investigations into serious incidents and accidents.