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Bellview Crash Traced to Radar Repairs

Posted by From Kola Ologbondiyan and Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja on 2006/01/18 | Views: 2552 |

Bellview Crash Traced to Radar Repairs


The members of the Senate Committee on Aviation were yesterday told that repairs work being performed on the radar of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos was responsible for the October 22, 2005 crash of Bellview aircraft in Lisa, Ogun State.

The members of the Senate Committee on Aviation were yesterday told that repairs work being performed on the radar of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos was responsible for the October 22, 2005 crash of Bellview aircraft in Lisa, Ogun State.

The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Managing Director, Captain Rowland Iyayi, who disclosed this while appearing before the Senate Committee on Aviation’s public hearing into the plane crash explained that because the radar was undergoing repairs when the incident occurred, it was difficult for the control tower to track the location of the aircraft which had earlier lost communication contact.

Iyayi, who gave the purchase year of the Lagos Airport radar as 1978, explained that the condition of the radar had depreciated to a level that even while functional it was years behind acceptable standards in the modern aviation world, adding that the radar had to be serviced at weekends when the number of flights is low.
He explained that the Bellview plane was complicated because of the loss of communication which made the "procedural control" that the control tower ought to have resorted to in the face of dysfunctional
radar impossible.
"When the radar fails, procedural control does not locate the exact position of the aircraft except when there is no communication failure. If the contact was not lost and the tower had known the location of the aircraft and had made emergency declaration, then the story would have been different.

"But I must add that control towers at Nigerian airports as we have them now are nothing to write home about," he stressed.
Responding to questions from the committee’s consultants, Iyayi explained that as soon as contact was lost with the aircraft, the tower contacted Ilorin, Kano, Abuja, Accra, Benin Republic as well as Niamey but received negative responses.
"When contact was lost, it was first assumed that it was a communication loss which is sometimes experienced with any crash. The tower has procedures laid down in the book to follow that will last about five minutes in a bid to raise the pilot, this was done," he further said.


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