PAF orders safety check, grounds all Sikorsky-76A aircraft after Basilan crash

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020   •   508

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will conduct a maintenance inspection on all of its S-76A aircraft after of one of its units crashed in Barangay Manggas, Lantawan town, Basilan on Wednesday (September 16).

Air Force Public Affairs Office Chief Lt.Col Aristides Galang said they have sent a team of investigators to Basilan to determine what could have caused the incident.

“In response to the unfortunate incident, the PAF will be conducting prompt maintenance inspection of all S-76A aircraft as a standard procedure in events such as this,” he said.

“A team will also be sent to the area to conduct further investigation of the said mishap.” he added.

The bodies of all four Air Force personnel who died in the crash were also transported to Zamboanga City. 

Information from the Armed Forced of the Philippines West Mindanao Command said the fatalities include pilot Major Jessie Miller, his co-pilot Lt. Mack-Ar Ferrer, aircrew Staff Sgt. Miguel Banas and Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal Jr.

PAF has extended its sympathies to the families of the victims.

“With utmost respect, the PAF headed by its Commanding General, Lt. General Allen Paredes extends its deepest and sincerest condolences to the bereaved families,” Galang said.

The aircraft crash landed on a rubber plantation owned by Lantawan Vice Mayor Nasser Abubakar, allegedly due to inclement weather.

The team was bound for Jolo, Sulu for an emergency medical evacuation of their comrades who were wounded in the August 24 bombing. They were supposed to transfer them for further treatment in Zamboanga City. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Philippine Air Force grounds entire fleet of Hueys after fatal crash in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has grounded its entire fleet of UH-1H helicopters while investigations on the fatal crash in Bukidnon on Saturday (January 16) are ongoing.

“Definitely lahat ng UH-1 helicopter natin will be grounded until such time makumpleto yung thorough maintenance inspection. Part po kasi iyan ng safety procedure,” confirmed PAF Spokesperson LtCol. Aristides Galang.

The official also spoke to rectify rumors that the cause of the mishap was engine failure.

“Masyado pa po kasing maaga, so yung investigating team natin hindi po ganoon kabilis na made-determine natin kaagad kung ano yung cause of the accident, ng mishap,” he said.

“Marami po kasi tayong factors na ikino-consider. Hindi po natin masabi kaagad na may problema sa makina yung eroplano,” he added.

All five PAF personnel who were killed in the incident were given full military honors on Sunday (January 17).

They were pilot LtCol. Arnie Arroyo; co-pilot 2Lt. Mark Anthony Caabay; Sgt. Mervin Bersabe; Air First Class Stephen Agarrado; and Sgt. Julius Salvador.

Two members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) namely Jerry Ayocdo and Jhamel Sugalang who were with them were also killed in the incident.

The group was supposed to deliver food supplies to a patrol base in Impasug-Ong, Bukidnon.

Based on the latest report of the 4ID Philippine Army, the remains of the five soldiers were laid at the headquarters of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in Mactan Cebu while the remains of the two CAFGU members were transported to their respective hometowns and families. —MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan / Val Villaflor)

Philippine Air Force receives 6 Black Hawk choppers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force received six Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk choppers during a turnover ceremony in Clark Freeport, Pampanga on Thursday (December 10).

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the six Black Hawk choppers are the first batch of the 16 new combat utility helicopters bought from Poland under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

“We got a better deal with these aircraft. Not only is the Black Hawk more powerful, there is more payload, has a longer range, but we also got them at the price with the bell412 which is a cheaper aircraft,” he said.

Lorenzana said the deal costs P11.6 billion and has replaced the cancelled contract of 16 Bell 412EP helicopters from Canada.

The DND Secretary also said the helicopters will be useful in medical evacuation, troops insertion, as well as for the government’s COVID-19 response.

“These aircraft would greatly help the armed forces operational readiness. equipped with the Black Hawk our air force can now provide prompt and sustained day and night tactical lift as well as combat and non-combat search and rescue operations,” he said.

Ten more of the said helicopters are expected to arrive in 2021. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

AFP looks at pilot error and mechanical failure as possible causes for helicopter crash in Basilan

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Investigators in the fatal helicopter crash in Basilan are looking at three possible reasons for the tragedy.

Pilot error, inclement weather and a possible engine failure are among possible causes that authorities are considering. 

The Sikorsky-76A Rotary Wing Rescue helicopter was on its way to Basilan to fetch the soldiers who were injured in the August 24 twin bombing. 

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WESMINCOM) Spokesperson Lt.Col. Alaric delos Santos, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is sending today an inspection and investigation team to the crash site to find additional information on how the incident happened.

“Titingnan po nila lahat ng factors katulad ng human factor o kaya mechanical factor o kaya’y weather factor and lahat,” Delos Santos said.

Information from the Armed Forced of the Philippines West Mindanao Command said the fatalities include pilot Major Jessie Miller, his co-pilot Lt. Mack-Ar Ferrer, Staff Sgt. Miguel Banas and Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal Jr.

Sikorsky-76A helicopters are the most common among aircrafts that the PAF utilizes for humanitarian missions serving as air ambulances. MNP (with reports from Val Villaflor)

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