Increase in aviation accidents this year; no lifespan for aircraft used in Guyana – GCAA Head

GCAA Head Egbert Field

By: Amar Persaud

Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Colonel Egbert Field related that there has been an increase of air traffic-related accidents in 2021 when compared to last year.

“This year has been a very funny one for which we did have some accidents that should not have taken place…we’re in the region of 4 or 5 accidents and I think last year we would’ve had in the vicinity of three. So, yes there was a few more than last year.”

He pointed out that accidents are not only caused by one factor but rather a string of factors.

According to Field, the only fatal accident in the aviation sector was back in October when a man died after he reportedly walked into an aircraft propellor at the Kamarang Airstrip, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).

The DG related that the increase in air traffic-related accidents is due to the increase in Guyana’s fleet.

“What do you expect when the aircraft fleet is increasing, operations are increasing.”

“So, as the trajectory goes up with the increase in aircraft and operations, we’re fighting the curve, we’re trying to keep the accident rates down, it’s a task but my inspectors here are properly trained and they work hard when it comes to the oversight and surveillance of operations,” Field noted.

However, the GCAA Head explained that inspections are done to make sure that all aircraft are properly maintained in order to prevent future accidents, and also given the fact that there is no lifespan for the aircraft used in Guyana, its parts would expire.

“With the aircraft operating in Guyana, there are no cut-off dates, what you have cut-off dates on are the various parts and the various pieces of equipment on that aircraft…so every item on an aircraft has a lifecycle when that time meet you change the part.”

“There are a number of inspections, you have the daily inspections which is done by pilots and the engineers…you have the 50 hours inspection, after 50 hours there are certain items that must be checked, you have the 100-hour inspections where other items must be checked and these are done in a rigid way.”

Meanwhile, the Director General further explained that Guyana’s aircraft operations are considered very safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“As a matter of fact, we are considered very safe in the eyes of ICAO, that’s the International Civil Aviation Organisation. About 4 months back the ICAO outlined, after they went through their figures and plugged everything into the computers the experts in the office, they had assessed Guyana as being number 1 when it comes to safety in the Americas.”

“When it comes to the air navigation system, that’s our controlling, etc, when it comes to the air navigation we were adjudged as number 2 in the Americas…so this says to you what we are doing and this didn’t take place overnight, it takes time and a lot of training,” the GCAA Director General added.

In July, a registered Roraima Airways aircraft overshot the runway at Aricheng airstrip in Region Seven as it was taking off and ended up in a clump of bushes.

Prior that that a Cessna Caravan belonging to Jags Aviation of BK Group of Companies ran off the Eteringbang runway, Region Seven. A similar accident occurred at the Kamarang airstrip due to the disintegration of a Cessna plane’s propeller upon take-off. The plane’s private operator was Orlando Charles.

In August, five passengers were injured after an aircraft belonging to Roraima Airways crashed at the Haags-Bosch landfill site, East Bank Demerara (EBD).

It was reported that the aircraft was heading to the Eugene F Correia International Airport when it made an emergency landing at a swamp-like section of the sanitary landfill site. Carrying three passengers and two crew members, the flight had initially departed from the community of Imbaimadai, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).