Friday, October 28, 2011

Dash 8 cleared

source: The National - Friday, October 28th 2011

AIRLINES PNG Dash 8 aircraft have returned to service but on strict
conditions.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) PNG yesterday cleared the 11 aircraft following preliminary findings of the investigations into the catastrophic Dash 8 crash of Oct 13 in Madang in which 28 out of 32 people on board perished.
The directive required more frequent inspections and test on the propeller governor and power lever systems and, within 120 days, the installation of components that will ensure a failure that occurred in Madang is not repeated.
The new parts will cost US$20,000 per aircraft and some 120 man hours to install in each aircraft.
As more information becomes available, CASA (Australia), which had been monitoring the investigations in PNG with interest, might apply the same airworthiness directive to include Australian operators of Dash 8.
APNG announced it had already placed orders for the parts with Bombardier of Canada.
Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing said CASA’s decision was made in consultation with the aircraft manufacturer, Canadian authorities and the accident investigation commission.
Ruing said the CASA directive now required all Dash 8 operators, inclu­ding Air Niugini, to comply.
There are presently 21 Dash 8 aircraft operating in PNG owned mostly by APNG and Air Niugini.
While a preliminary investigation report has not been made available, it is understood the airworthiness directive affected Dash 8 series 100, 200 and 300 aircraft operating in PNG.
It is understood that a component failure on the aircraft had caused the propellers to go too fast resulting in both engines failing.
This, initially, absolved Airlines PNG of any fault mechanical or human error.
Airlines PNG said yesterday its grounded fleet had undergone extensive maintenance checks and would resume both charter and passenger ope­rations today.
“Airlines PNG have been very cooperative with the authority to make the necessary safety changes to their operations in order for the authority to allow the return of their Dash 8 fleet to service,” Ruing said.
“This return-to-service will be in a progressive manner over the next two weeks and has some imposed conditions pertaining to operational procedures and training.”
Ruing said these were the imme­diate steps being taken in the interests of aviation safety, however, further safety action could be required as more information became available.
The authority, assisted by CASA Australia, would continue to monitor the safety performance of the airline through audits and surveillance.
Airlines PNG chairman Simon Wild said: “We thank the safety authorities for their tireless efforts which have confirmed the safety of our aircraft and systems.
“We have always been confident that the integrity of our safety practices would be confirmed by rigorous scrutiny.”
“While a full investigation is continuing, preliminary evidence pointed to a component failure through no fault of the airline which resulted in
the loss of power to both engines,
leaving the flight crew with no alternatives but to attempt an emergency landing.
“In accordance with recommendations from the safety authorities, steps have been taken to ensure such failure did not take place on any of our aircraft, and we understand that all other Dash 8 operators in PNG are implementing the same safeguards,” Wild said.

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