KINGSTON - Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the country’s aviation watchdog – reissued a notice to aircraft operators in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the Convention on International Civil Aviationwhen landing on hinterland airstrips.
This notice was recirculated as a precautionary measure.
“It was something that had to be done because we are very concerned. Recently several aircraft have encountered gusty winds and windshear conditions that have resulted in damage to these aircraft,” disclosed Hon. Robeson Benn, Minister of Public Works.
As per standard operation practice, pilots were reminded of the need to follow the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) procedurally when operating.
“Each aircraft has its own peculiar reaction in response to crosswinds, but generally a good crosswind landing begins with a good approach. This is taught to pilots and every opportunity must be taken to re-enforce this,” GCAA’s Director-General Zulifar Mohamed emphasized in the bulletin.
Pointing to the fact that the landing phase is very demanding, operators are advised to have their pilots to follow the approved procedures in order to maintain proper approach and landing. If these parameters are not achieved, a go-around or diversion is necessary.
The option of the Go-around maneuver, an aborted landing of an aircraft that is on final approach,was highlighted in the bulletin.
“This procedure should be a habit in everyday Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flying, so that a predetermined go-around plan is always fresh in the mind during the approach and can be executed at any time the approach is in doubt. Most importantly, in situations where meteorological conditions or terrain features would permit an approach but preclude a safe go-around, then that approach requires extra consideration and perhaps should not be attempted.
“Every pilot already knows that proper planning, making wise decisions, situational awareness, adherence to SOPs and having an alternate plan of action are all characteristics of good airmanship, which are essential for a safe flight.”
“It is important that pilots know not only the aircraft crosswind limits, but also their own personal limit and to recognize when these limits will be exceeded. The best option is to divert to another airstrip. Very often the limiting factor is related more to the pilot than the aircraft. It is therefore important to reiterate that the pilot must know his/her limits and operate within them,” Mr. Mohamed said.
Operators are also cautioned to ensure that young pilots be taught the necessary skills to operate safely into the hinterland airstrips. Pilots must be given the opportunity to practice and develop these skills, and must be comfortable operating into borderline aerodromes before they are required to operate into the aerodromes as pilot-in-command by their respective companies
KINGSTON - Since the introduction of several new airlines to the Guyanese market, there has been talk about the country becoming a hub that will connect passengers from around the world as they arrive at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport(CJIA),Timehri.
But not many have taken the talk further as was TravelSpan which recently applied to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for permission to operate a scheduled service, moving away from the charger service it is licenced to provide. Officials at the airline told Guyana Times that the move to acquire such a licence basically indicates that TravelSpan is here for the long haul. “A charger service is basically to operate seasonal, but with this Scheduled Licence we have applied for is indicating that we are here for the long haul,” the airline official said.
Contacted on the issue GCAA acting Director General Ankar Doobay told Guyana Times on Friday that the airline has indeed submitted the application and it is presently being looked at. He said he was certain that the request will be granted once all the documentations and infrastructure are in order.
Most international airports serve as hubs, or places where non-direct flights may land and passengers switch planes. International airports often have many airlines represented, and many of these are often foreign. Passengers connecting to domestic flights from an international flight generally must take their checked luggage through Customs and re-check their luggage at the domestic airline counter, requiring extra-time in the process. In some cases in Europe, luggage can be transferred to the final destination even if it is a domestic connection.
In some cases, travellers and the aircraft can clear Customs and Immigration at the departure airport. One example of this is the pre-clearance facilities airports in Canada have at the US border. This allows flights from those airports to fly into US airports that do not have Customs and Immigration facilities. Luggage from such flights can also be transferred to a final destination in the US through the airport of entry.
Observers believe that this should ultimately be the goal of the authorities here with the multibillion-dollar airport expansion project.
“It makes no sense you invest so much into expanding the facilities at CJIA and we only have flights dropping off and picking up people. We must be able to have connections and operate truly as a hub,” a top local aviator said.
TravelSpan Chief Executive Officer Nohar Singh explained that in order for Guyana to be a hub, the airport expansion is a necessity, noting that hundreds of passengers will be passing through the airport and there must be modernised facilities to cater for this development.
He added that they would not have been in discussion about hub operation, if they were not sure the Government is committed to the expansion project.
“The airport expansion project is absolutely necessary in a hub operation,” he reiterated.
Only last week, leading agencies in the aviation industry called for the speedy completion of the US$155 million expansion project.
During a high-profile meeting with Public Works Minister Robeson Benn last Thursday, key stakeholders within the aviation sector reaffirmed their commitment to the expansion of the industry, but said the airport must be expanded to mitigate the challenges currently faced.
“We recognise that the expansion project is the appropriate response to the dire safety, security and efficiency challenges faced at the existing facility and pledge to fully lend our support and expertise to advance the progress of the multimillion-dollar national endeavour,” the stakeholders said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.
It was explained that the existing runway creates many limitations in safety due to the absence of the Runway Extension Safety Area (RESA) and its inability to accommodate larger wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft. The congested terminal and parking space constraints for aircraft were among other issues laid on the table when the meeting was convened. The airlines said that insufficient parking space for aircraft adversely affects their on-time performance.
Meanwhile, TravelSpan Board member Rob Binns said the airline has commenced preparation for the expansion, which will see Guyana becoming a hub in the near future. He said that as talks continue about a “hub”, TravelSpan will increase its presence here by investing in Guyanese. In so doing, they have hired the first batch of Guyanese flight attendants who can relate more to Guyanese passengers travelling from JFK to Georgetown.
“Our aim to present that warm Guyanese hospitality onboard our flights and with the flight attendants, we are sure that passengers will relate better with their own.” Binns added that with the hub operation, the idea is to hire Guyanese pilots, Guyanese mechanics and engineers so that their flights can actually be based in Guyana.
Vision Airlines Executive David Ray explained that the hub will see TravelSpan bringing passengers to Guyana who will then board connecting flights. This, he added, would need better infrastructure.
Ray added that this can and will tremendously boost the county’s economy and provide job opportunities. He said at present, bigger aircraft cannot land at the current runway at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.
KINGSTON - The incident involving the Trans Guyana Airways BN2A-27 Islander with registration 8R-GHM Serial No. 216, which took place on May 16 at the Kurupung airstrip in Region Seven cannot be attributed to lack of maintenance of the airstrip, but instead to the training and experience of the airman.
This was highlighted, through a written response provided in the National Assembly, by Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn to A Partnership for Unity’s (APNU) Member of Parliament Dr. Karen Cummings.
Cummings had questioned if maintenance and at what cost was carried out on the airstrip in 2013, and if a maintenance team examined the airstrip periodically and the mechanism that will be put in place to prevent another incident such as the “hard landing” that took place.
In his response, Minister Benn explained that $640,000 was spent to maintain the 1,365 feet long and 43 feet wide Kurupung airstrip in 2013.
He said that since the airstrip is bordered on the eastern end by a deep valley and a swamp with a creek on the western end, there is very little scope to facilitate its lengthening and as such maintenance was carried out all year round.
It was noted that like all other government airstrips, Kurupung’s benefitted from a resident contractor, who has responsibility for its maintenance, all year round and that all the government’s airstrips are examined periodically, jointly by the aviation inspectors in the Ministry of Public Works and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA).
In addition, answering Cummings’ query about what mechanism will be put in place to prevent another event of “hard landing” at the airstrip, the Minister noted that focus must be on training and experience by the relevant companies, and as such suggested that the incident called to fault, more the experience of the pilot and not the maintenance of the airstrip.
The Minister said too that focused training by the relevant companies should consist of airman proficiency checks every six months and route and aerodrome checks once every 12 months in accordance with the GCCA requirements.
Minister Benn also corrected Cummings’ use of the term “hard landing”. He noted instead it was a “short landing” by the pilot of the aircraft and that the contributory factors were wind shear and down draught.
The incident which involved the Trans Guyana Airways BN2A-27 Islander, involved one crew and four passengers, but no one suffered any injuries.
The aircraft which was seriously damaged, landed before the threshold, the left landing gear moved rearward 39 inches tearing the nacelle. There were also wrinkles to both the surfaces of the wing and flaps. (INews)
KINGSTON - Investigators from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) are in Monkey Mountain, Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni) to determine what caused a Britten Norman Islander aircraft to run of the Monkey Mountain airstrip.
The incident occurred around 9:50 am on July 7, 2014.
The pilot Orlando Charles and another passenger were reportedly not injured. However, the twin engine aircraft, registration 8RGGY, was damaged but to what extent will be known upon arrival of the investigators.
The aircraft left Ogle International Airport earlier in the day and made stops at Omai and Mahadia before heading to Monkey Mountain when the incident occurred.
The aircraft is owned by Domestic Airways.
KINGSTON - The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is currently conducting an investigation into the incident which occurred on June 2, 2014 at the Paramakatoi Airstrip in which a Cessna 206 aircraft owned and operated by Air Services Limited upon landing, veered off of the runway and ploughed through a barbed wire fence.
The aircraft was at the time transporting cargo with only the pilot in command on board.
The facts uncovered in the preliminary investigation do not suggest that there was cattle present on or in the vicinity of the airstrip at the time of the incident.
The Authority wishes to make clear that there are established procedures which govern operation into and out of uncontrolled aerodromes such as Paramakatoi that require the pilot to pass over in the vicinity of the aerodrome to ensure that the runway is clear of all obstacles prior to landing.
The most recent Advisory Circular on Standard Operating Procedures at Uncontrolled Aerodromes was issued to the industry in September, 2013 and describes actions to be taken by a pilot to ensure that a proper assessment of conditions at the airstrip are made before landing.
KINGSTON - After two years of training eight Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) are certified and have assumed their responsibilities at Ogle and the Cheddi Jagan International Airports control towers.
Zulficar Mohamed,Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) stated that from reports received, he is impressed with the zest and professionalism demonstrated by the newest batch.
“Air traffic control is a fast-paced job that requires an individual to be on the alert to control and maintain safety of Air Traffic operating within our airspace. As such the trainee ATCOs had to be proficient in the classroom, as well as, during their simulation training, hence the reason for the two year programme,” Mr. Mohamed stated.
At the moment, GCAA has shortlisted in excess of 40 individuals to undergo aptitude testing followed by interviews to begin the next training programme within the next few months.
Furthermore, four seasoned ATCOs have completed the theoretical training and are now undergoing on-the-job training as part of the aviation watchdog’s move to promote them and increase the staff level of the Area Control Centre.
According to Mr. Mohamed, GCAA’s aim is to increase the capability of the ATCOs. “These are the men and women that keep the aircraft and it passengers safe in our airspace and we must continue to develop their skills.”
KINGSTON - A Trans Guyana Britten Norman Islander aircraft hard landed during its approach at Kurupung Bottom airstrip, Region Seven, approximately 12:27 pm on May 16, 2014. No injuries were report.
In aviation, a hard landing is an especially rapid or steep descent.
Five persons, including the pilot, were on board the aircraft, which had departed from Ogle International Airport.
Zulficar Mohamed, Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) stated that the aircraft landed on the airstrip’s threshold resulting in damage to the left landing gear.
Officials of GCAA and Trans Guyana are in the area to conduct an investigation into the incident.
KINGSTON - The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has taken issue with various statements in the public domain concerning the function of the authority in relation to accident and incident investigations.
The GCAA in a release said Guyana as a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation is mandated to carry out a safety investigation in conformity with the protocols and procedures set out in Annex 13 to that convention.
“It must be made clear that this Annex 13 investigation is a safety investigation with the sole objective of preventing accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this type of activity to apportion blame or liability. These types of investigations are usually carried out by the national regulatory body for civil aviation. This is the practice internationally; Guyana is no different in this regard,” the body said.
The Civil Aviation (investigation of accidents) Regulations of 1982 makes provision for the appointment of an inspector of accidents for the purposes of carrying out an investigation into the circumstances and causes of accidents and incidents arising out of or in the course of air navigation, which occur to civil aircraft in or over Guyana, or elsewhere to civil aircraft registered in Guyana.
“To therefore infer that in conducting a safety investigation, GCAA is in essence investigating itself, is an obfuscation of the facts.
“While the GCAA, like other aviation authorities across the region, does not yet have the optimum level of resources, the authority has formed the necessary relationships that bring to bear any technical and human resources as the need arises.”
The aviation body said one such example is the relationship between the GCAA and the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS). While the GCAA does not have a full-time in-house flight operations inspector, the services of a qualified Inspector are made readily available through CASSOS.
“Indeed, the very reason for the existence of CASSOS is to provide the human and technical resources to address the existing regional deficiencies in these areas.
“It is important to note that the GCAA was staffed with an ICAO approved flight operations inspector but certain operators took to the courts to prevent him from carrying out his functions, resulting in his eventual departure from the authority. Since that time, the GCAA has been making continuous efforts to recruit a full-time, in-house flight operations inspector,” the GCAA.
With respect to the most recent accident, the GCAA has moved swiftly to carry out its mandate as it is required to do under national and international law. The authority is in contact with the relevant international agencies and has in place all the technical and human resources necessary for the completion of its safety investigation.
KINGSTON - Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, in assuring the general travelling public that all efforts are being made towards ensuring safety in aircraft operations, and said that the Ministry and stakeholders have been examining additional surveillance measures.
Minister Benn expressed concerns over several aircraft incidents that have occurred in the recent past, reminding of an aircraft flipping at Ogle aerodrome one week before the Cessna Caravan crashed on January 18 in the mid Mazaruni, which cleft its pilot and loader dead.
“We have been discussing additional measures, additional oversights in respect of heightening the level of surveillance with respect to aircraft operations. Domestic flights particularly from the Ogle Aerodrome are our very high number. Ogle aerodrome which is now a regional airport has amongst the highest numbers, the highest levels of aircraft activity. Aircraft movements are around 50, 000 annually,” he added.
He said the entire system has been responding to increased levels of activities, and there are some things that the Ministry needs to look into, arriving from investigations of both aircraft.
“Overall we are doing re-assessments, we’re doing reviews as one of the mechanisms of the investigation to improve the activity we do for the Ministry…we want to ensure that we don’t have recurrences at this time,” Minister Benn stated.
He expressed condolence to the families of the deceased on behalf of the Ministry and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
The Cessna Caravan registration 8R-GHS crashed just after takeoff from Olive Creek in the Mazaruni. At the time there were two persons on board: Captain Blake Slater and a loader Dwayne Jacobs. The aircraft was at the time on a shuttle operation carrying fuel between Olive Creek and Imbaimadai. The emergency call was broadcast at approximately 10:56hrs on January 18, and an aerial search commenced immediately. The dense forest canopy coupled with poor lighting, occasional poor weather and absence of an ELT signal proved challenging for the search team.
GDF Special Force Officers arrived at the crash location early Monday morning and discovered that both the Captain and the crew member had perished during the crash. The bodies were extricated early Tuesday morning and were flown to Georgetown by midday.
In keeping with the protocols and procedures for accident investigations, the GCAA investigators have identified and commenced the interviewing of material witnesses and are gathering the necessary documentary and photographic evidence at site for analysis.
The GCAA is in contact with the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS), the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Suriname (CASAS), Cessna, the aircraft manufacturer and the engine Manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney.
The GCAA investigators are continuing to process the evidence at site and will be removing the necessary components of the aircraft for further analysis. (GINA)
KINGSTON - Recognising the contributions of more than 50 long – serving aviation sector staffers, Transport Minister Robeson Benn stated that government was prepared to do was needed to address the future demands of the sector.
Speaking at a dinner and awards ceremony on November 7, at the Umana Yana, Kingston, to mark World Aviation Day, Minister Benn acknowledged that much work remains to be done. “We have to recognise that the movement of people by air is the most important, the most significant way of moving people to and from Guyana”.
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