Associated Airline Crash Linked To Human Error

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The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Friday linked the recent Associated Airlines crash in Lagos to human error.

The Commissioner of the AIB, Mr. Muhtar Usman, said crew decision making and training with respect to proceeding with the flight, in spite of concerns regarding the aircraft’s suitability for the flight is one of the likely causes of the crash in which 13 people died.

Addressing the media on the release of a preliminary report on the Embraer 120 aircraft that crashed shortly after take off from the Lagos Airport, Usman said that the report was based on the findings from the ‘Black Box,’ recovered from the scene of the crash.

There has been suggestions that the aircraft, with registration number 5N-BJY scheduled for a test flight only before the it was diverted for the ill-fated private charter flight from Lagos to Akure, Ondo State.

The plane was carrying 20 persons, including the crew as well as the remains of the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu.

Usman said that the AIB had been able to determine from its preliminary assessment of the Flight 361 recorders, the likely causes of the crash.

According to him, the likely causes include, mechanical and electronic engine control issues related to the right engine and right engine propeller system as well as the take-off configuration issues with respect to flap settings.

He listed other likely causes as “aural warnings related to auto-feather and the flap settings, required for take-off and when and how the number two engine fire handle was pulled.”

“The investigation is also focusing on the standard operating procedure with respect to continuing the take-off roll, in spite of continuous automated voice warnings of both take-off flaps and auto feather when there was ample time to abort the take-off,” he explained.

Usman also said that the bureau was in the process of developing a comprehensive computer reconstruction of the aircraft to assist its investigation team to understand the sequence of events that led to the crash.

According to him, this will enable the bureau to come up with a comprehensive report of what led to the crash.

He, however, said that the bureau had not been able to come up with any safety recommendations yet.

Usman noted that the AIB would not wait until the final report to make recommendations, if any issue that needed immediate attention arose.

He said that the AIB planned to release the transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), which contained the internal conversation of the two pilots, radio calls and the overall aural environment in the cockpit area microphone.

According to him, the CVR is of good quality and the bureau is in the process of generating a complete transcript of all relevant information.

“However, the actual recording is under international protocol, sensitive and therefore, privileged information and will not be released at any time,’’ he said.

The AIB is a parastatal agency in the Federal Ministry of Aviation and was established in 1989.  It is responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within Nigeria.

Its fundamental objective is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents.

The AIB is also saddled with the responsibility of making safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence of similar accidents in future.