AIB: We stand by our report on ill-fated helicopter


Posted by Sade Williams 


The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigeria, has said that it stands by the Preliminary Report it issued on Quorum Aviation helicopter crash,  saying the objective of its investigations is to improve Aviation safety by determining the causes and contributory factors of an occurrence and to issue targeted safety recommendations to forestall future reoccurrence of such accidents or incidents.

It also added that in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act 2006 and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, AIB investigation shall not apportion blame or assist in determining liability.

It added furthet that AIB does not authenticate documents with the affected Operator but with the Regulatory body – the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is the custodian of all the certificates.

Quorum Aviation Ltd, the operator of the ill-fated helicopter, had faulted a portion of the preliminary report which stated that there was no evidence of submission of an application for exemption to the regulatory body by the Operator.

The Bureau had stated, in the preliminary report, that the pilot’s proficiency was valid till 24 August 2020, four days before the crash, while the medical certificate of the pilot expired on 06 August 2020.

Quorum Aviation faulted this, saying it wrote a letter of exemption to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on August 18, 2029, requesting for the exemption of the pilot’s recency.

A letter sighted by from the airline indicated that the company requested for the exemption through a letter signed by its managing director, Mr. Abiola Lawal.

The letter titled: ‘Request for the extension of our pilot’s recency’, our ref: NCAA/DOT/GEN012/20/002. Exemption document for pilot recency’, reads: ‘Given the challenges of the COVID-19 in organizing additional crew travel and training, we hereby wish to request for the exmption/extension of our pilot Chika Prudence Ernest Licences ATPL(H) 6245 under the above exmption granted by the DG in the above reference circular

“His proficiency expires on the 24 of August 2020 and his comprehensive medical are valid until the 6th of August 2023.”

“Captain Prudence is a well experienced Helicopter pilot and experienced PIC on the Bell 206 and we kindly appreciate if this application can be promptly approved to continue operations.”

“We are hopeful subsequently that things would have settled down post COVID for early next year travel for future proficiencies when exemption validity expires 31st December 2020 per the circular”, the Quorum letter reads.

But the AIB on Tuesday, said the letter, purportedly written to the NCAA by the Operator and released to the public, does not bear any of the normal markers of a letter which has passed through the official process of the Regulatory body. It has no official stamps nor proof of receipt by the NCAA.

“Furthermore, the Operator has not shown the response of the NCAA to this purported application, nor have they tendered evidence of the approval of their request for extension/ exemption.

“However, the NCAA in her response to AIB’s enquiry on the subject states that, “The Authority does not have in its record any evidence that the deceased or his employer applied for the exemption provided for by the AOL (DG18/20) and AOL (DG20/20) before the accident occurred on the 28th of August, 2020”, it stated.


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