Kurupung airstrip crash caused by pilot error –Minister Benn

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Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn
Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn

[www.inewsguyana..com] – The incident involving the Trans Guyana Airways BN2A-27 Islander with registration 8R-GHM Serial No. 216, which took place on May 16 at the Kurupung airstrip in Region Seven cannot be attributed to lack of maintenance of the airstrip, but instead to the training and experience of the airman.

This was highlighted, through a written response provided in the National Assembly, by Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn to A Partnership for Unity’s (APNU) Member of Parliament Dr. Karen Cummings.

Cummings had questioned if maintenance and at what cost was carried out on the airstrip in 2013, and if a maintenance team examined the airstrip periodically and the mechanism that will be put in place to prevent another incident such as the “hard landing” that took place.

In his response, Minister Benn explained that $640,000 was spent to maintain the 1,365 feet long and 43 feet wide Kurupung airstrip in 2013.

He said that since the airstrip is bordered on the eastern end by a deep valley and a swamp with a creek on the western end, there is very little scope to facilitate its lengthening and as such maintenance was carried out all year round.

It was noted that like all other government airstrips, Kurupung’s benefitted from a resident contractor, who has responsibility for its maintenance, all year round and that all the government’s airstrips are examined periodically, jointly by the aviation inspectors in the Ministry of Public Works and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA).

In addition, answering Cummings’ query about what mechanism will be put in place to prevent another event of “hard landing” at the airstrip, the Minister noted that focus must be on training and experience by the relevant companies, and as such suggested that the incident called to fault, more the experience of the pilot and not the maintenance of the airstrip.

 

The Minister said too that focused training by the relevant companies should consist of airman proficiency checks every six months and route and aerodrome checks once every 12 months in accordance with the GCCA requirements.

Minister Benn also corrected Cummings’ use of the term “hard landing”. He noted instead it was a “short landing” by the pilot of the aircraft and that the contributory factors were wind shear and down draught.

The incident which involved the Trans Guyana Airways BN2A-27 Islander, involved one crew and four passengers, but no one suffered any injuries.

The aircraft which was seriously damaged, landed before the threshold, the left landing gear moved rearward 39 inches tearing the nacelle. There were also wrinkles to both the surfaces of the wing and flaps.

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