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Buhari tasks NCAA, NASENI on first made-in-Nigeria helicopter

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President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the commitment of his administration to launching the first made-in-Nigeria non-commercial helicopter currently being manufactured at the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

Buhari described the feat as proof of the capacity of Nigerians to excel in associated technical knowledge of aircraft manufacturing and the aviation sector.

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Hence, the President has given a fresh directive to the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, to get the required certification and approvals from relevant authorities for non-commercial flight (PNCF) helicopter, and to ensure that Nigeria’s first locally made aircraft is launched in the lifetime of his administration.

As a follow up to the presidential directive, Haruna and the management team of the agency visited the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, to update the Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, on Buhari’s order.

The NCAA issues permit and certification for the made-in-Nigeria helicopter, including certificate of aircraft registration, airworthiness, noise regulation, and general certification.

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“The delay in getting these permits and certificates approved since 2015 has greatly affected the delivery of the goals of the project,” the NASENI boss said.

He explained during the meeting with the NCAA that President Buhari had given NASENI and the rest of the agencies associated with Nigeria’s helicopter project, including the Federal Ministry of Aviation and others who have parts to play, to expedite action on the processes.

Haruna said the President planned to launch the helicopter in the last quarter of 2021.

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According to him, the required component parts to make the helicopter wholly Nigeria-made have been manufactured locally in the country by NASENI and its partners. The task, he said, had been accomplished by the agency. The parts to be imported are also already in the country.

In 2016, following President Buhari’s directive, NASENI successfully designed and manufactured locally the first jet-engine for aircraft, which was launched with a funfair at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

“What is left to be done to achieve the project are the technical certifications by the relevant agencies in Nigeria, hence today’s visit to NCAA,” Haruna said.

The newly appointed DG of NCAA, Nuhu, acknowledged the efforts of his predecessor in supporting NASENI to actualise the project.

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