Downward draft, other elements probed in Kurupung ‘hard landing’

Investigators are examining a report of a possible down draft along with other elements, to ascertain what may have caused a ‘hard landing’ involving an aircraft belonging to one of the local air services, Trans-Guyana.

As a result of last Saturday’s incident in the Region Seven community of Kurupung, the aircraft damaged its landing gear, but fortunately none of the six souls on board were harmed.

Local Civil Aviation Authority Director General, Zulficar Mohamed, told this newspaper yesterday that they are investigating the incident, and while they have received reports on the possible down draft, they are yet to receive reports from the passengers. “We are still in the process of interviewing the passengers,” he told the newspaper.

Mohamed explained that this down draft would have been something felt by the passengers and their reports would be useful to the investigation. He said the phenomenon is wind causing a sudden downward movement of the plane.

Spokesperson for Trans-Guyana, Kit Nascimento, explained that the pilot has given his statement on what is being described as the hard landing of the Trans-Guyana Britten Norman Islander. He explained that the incident is one which begs the maintenance and upgrade of the interior airstrips.

It was explained that a wind shear is basically a sudden wind that forces an aircraft in a particular direction, whether upward, downward or to the sides. Nascimento said that as an aviation requirement, airstrips are supposed to have 100 feet on the approach and 100 feet run off. This allows the pilot to align the plane for landing before the actual touchdown. However, with the down draft phenomenon, the wind pushes the plane downward, forcing it to touch the approach before the pilot is ready to land.

Nascimento said that even if the plane touches down just a few feet before the runway, damage could be caused to the aircraft, especially if the approach is rough ground, and in this case, the landing gear.

In an opposite scenario, it was explained that an upward draft would also see the plane being unbalanced by the sudden wind. This is where the 100 feet run off is useful because if the plane is lining up on the approach and this sudden wind pushes the craft upward then the plane will not land at the time the pilot intend, the plane would then touch further down the runway. The ‘hard landing’ is described as a rapid or steep descent.

Nascimento reminded that it is for technical issues such as this, that the Aircraft Owners Association has been pleading with the government to maintain and refurbish the interior landing areas. It is for such reasons he continued that the Association also provided the government with a five part proposal on aviation issues that urgently needs to be addressed.

The controversial Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project has however got the lion’s share of allocations to aviation this year, attracting some $6.6B. Internal aviation was however gut punched when the government only allocated $231.1 million to deal with the much talked about dilapidated state and poor maintenance of interior landing grounds.

The opposition parties have registered the insufficiencies in the allocation of funds to develop domestic aviation.

Source: Kaieteur News