AIB: Quorum Chopper Crashed without Fuel in Tanks

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By Chinedu Eze

The Quorum Helicopter that crashed in Lagos on August 28, 2020, had no fuel in its tanks, the preliminary report by Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has revealed.

The report indicated that there was no fuel left in the tanks of the Bell 206B 111 helicopter, which crashed at Opebi area of Ikeja in Lagos.

Initial findings released by the AIB yesterday said that the helicopter with the registration number: 5N-BQW operated by Quorum Aviation Limited had 3:15 minutes endurance fuel, while the estimated flight time was 2:45hours.

According to the report, rather than the 2:45hours of estimated flight time to Lagos from Port Harcourt, the aircraft crashed at 2:59hours, indicating 14 minutes behind the estimated time.

Besides, it was not clear how the fuel, which ought to last for 3:15hours could be empty at 2:59hours of the flight.

The report released to journalists indicated that the aircraft had no fuel jettisoning capability, thus debunking the speculations that the pilot deliberately ejected the fuel to prevent the chopper from catching fire.

The report explained that the helicopter was topped to full tank capacity on August 27, 2020, stressing that after refueling, 10 minutes of engine run and 20 minutes of test flight were carried out the same day at Port Harcourt.

The report said: “The helicopter has an endurance of 3:24hours. The operational flight plan filed by the pilot indicated an endurance of 3:15hours and an estimated flight time of 2:45hours. The helicopter engine was started at 09:15hours.

“The helicopter took off at 09:20hours. The helicopter crashed at 12:14hours. There was no fuel left in the fuel tanks after the crash. The mast and main rotor blades were found intact during the post-crash inspection.”

The preliminary report also revealed that the pilot’s last medical examination was valid till August 6, 2020, 22 days before the crash.

It added that there was no evidence to show that an application for the exemption provided by the All Operators’ Letter (AOL) DG020/20 had been submitted to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by the 37-year-old pilot at the time of the crash.

The report added that the pilot’s last Proficiency Check was valid till August 24, 2020, which was four days before the crash.

Again, AIB said there was no evidence to show that an application for the exemption provided by the AOL DG018/20 had been submitted to the regulatory agency.

It, however, noted that the helicopter had a valid Certificate of Airworthiness.

The aircraft had crashed on August 28, 2020, with the three souls on board perishing as a result of the impact of the crash.