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NAF student pilot force lands trainer aircraft, sustains injury

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Olatokunbo Adesanya


• Arik Air alleges ground handlers’ error damaged airplane in Lagos
• Apologises to passengers over delays, Owerri ‘smoke’ incident

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that one of its student-pilots at 401 Flying Training School has force landed a Diamond 40 trainer aircraft on the outskirts of Kaduna while on a solo mission.A statement signed by NAF’s Director of Public Relations, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya in Abuja yesterday, said the incident was as a result of an airborne emergency that could not enable the pilot fly the aircraft back to the Base. 

According to him, no live was lost during the incident but the trainer aircraft had minimal damage to it, adding that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has ordered the constitution of a board of inquiry to determine the remote cause of the incident.Adesanya added that the student pilot, who was the only one on board, suffered minor injuries and he is receiving treatment at the NAF hospital.

In another development, the Arik Air has alleged that the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL), in discharging its duty, damaged one of its airplanes at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) in Lagos.The incident forced the Boeing 737-700 aircraft to be immediately grounded, causing disruption in the airline’s Lagos-Port Harcourt flight.

Some passengers had at the weekend complained on the social media about one-too-many technical issues, flight delays and cancellation by Arik and other airlines. One of the passengers alleged that an Arik Air plane in Owerri, just before take-off, started bellowing smoke in the cabin, forcing all seated passengers to disembark.

The airline, however, blamed the incident on technical issue on ground at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, during pre-departure procedure of its Bombardier CRJ900 operating Owerri-Lagos flight.Spokesperson of the airline, Banji Ola, said a relief aircraft was immediately sent to Owerri to take the already checked-in passengers to Lagos, with minimum delay.

Ola added that the Lagos incident had been reported to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in line with standard operating procedure and the airline’s high safety standards.“We apologise to our customers on the flight for the inconveniences they might have experienced as a result of the incident. We remain committed to our safety policy, high operating standard and customer service,” he said.



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