Skip to main content
x
MIDROC’s chopper crashes

MIDROC’s chopper crashes

A helicopter owned and operated by Trans Nation Airways (TNA), a subsidiary of MIDROC Ethiopia, crashed upon takeoff at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on February 25. Two crew members and five passengers survived the accident. It was on a chartered flight to Hawassa.

The Bell 220U helicopter with registration number ET-AMR was taking off from the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport general aviation ramp at about 10 am. While the chopper was attempting to ascend to cruising altitude, it went down and crashed due to engine failure. The passengers were missionaries going to attend a meeting in Hawassa town, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State located some 275 km south of Addis Ababa.  

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau told the Reporter that all the crew and passengers were rescued with no causality. The bureau said the helicopter crashed from a hovering height but the impact was so intense that the helicopter was heavily damaged. Fire did not break out during the crash.   

Experts of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau went to the scene immediately and collected data from the crash site as well as from the crew. The bureau said it was investigating the cause of the crash.

Aircraft accident investigation follows five steps, viz. data collection, interpretation, analysis, conclusion and recommendation. The bureau would soon complete the preliminary accident investigation report and submit its findings to all relevant bodies. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau used to be an agency within the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), and was organized as an independent entity under the Ministry of Transport based on recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which audited the authority in 2014.      

Reliable sources told the Reporter that the twin-engine helicopter crashed due to power loss. The bureau on its part said that it could not disclose the cause of the accident before completing the investigation. 

According to information obtained from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Registration and Air Worthiness Certification Directorate, the Bell 222U helicopter was imported and registered in August 2008. The helicopter was manufactured in 1986 by Bell Helicopter in the US, and as of June 2016, the helicopter had logged a total of 3,891 flight hours.

A senior official of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority told the Reporter that the Aircraft Registration and Air Worthiness Certification Directorate yearly inspects and certifies all commercial aircraft operating in Ethiopia. TNA’s helicopter was last inspected and certified in October 2016. “The air worthiness certificate is valid until October 2017. The helicopter was technically sound,” the official said.

General Manager of TNA Terefe Haile (Capt.) told the Reporter that the helicopter was maintained and properly operating. “Accident could occur any time. It was unfortunate that this accident occurred. The most important thing here is that our crew and valued customers were not injured. Regarding the cause of the crash, you can get detailed information when the preliminary investigation report is released,” Terefe said.  

TNA, one of the 24 subsidiaries of MIDROC Technology Group, was established in 2004 and operates two Bombardier Dash8-200 aircraft, each with 37 seats. TNA provides charter flight services to oil and mining companies, tour operators, UN agencies and other international organizations. Most of the time, the aircraft are leased out to international organizations in Sudan and other African countries on wet-lease basis. The company also provides pesticide and locust control spray services with two Ayres Turbo–Thrush light aircraft. 

Two years ago, TNA launched domestic scheduled flight services to Gondar and Humera towns but suspended the operation for commercial reasons. Last year, ECAA temporarily suspended TNA’s air operator certificate (AOC) after the company failed to submit full safety procedure manuals. Following a discussion between senior officials of ECAA and the management of TNA, the company presented the missing documents and regained its AOC.

Sources said that TNA acquired the Bell 222 helicopter in 2008 from a US based company called American General Supplies (AGS). “It was an ageing helicopter prone to accident,” sources said.

Experts of the Accident Investigation Bureau, however, argue that the helicopter was regularly overhauled and inspected. “It was air worthy. What matters is not the age of the aircraft. Rather, it is the quality of regular maintenance and inspection work undertaken. There are older helicopters than this one that are still air-worthy,” the experts said.

ECAA imposes age limits on aircraft imported to the country. The aviation regulation enacted by the ECAA in June 2013 stipulates that passenger aircraft should not be more than 22 years old while cargo aircraft should not exceed 25 years of age.  

When TNA’s chopper was registered in 2008, it was 22 years old. “Since the helicopter was imported in 2008 and the regulation was enacted in 2013, rules could not be applicable on this rotorcraft,” a senior official of ECAA told the Reporter. ECAA checks the date of manufacture of an aircraft before it is imported. Once it is registered and starts operating in the country, it can operate for decades provided it satisfies the annual inspection and certification process.     

Among 15 registered private airlines in Ethiopia, offering charter flight services, only seven are currently in operation.                                 

A helicopter owned and operated by Trans Nation Airways (TNA), a subsidiary of MIDROC Ethiopia, crashed upon takeoff at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on February 25. Two crew members and five passengers survived the accident. It was on a chartered flight to Hawassa.

The Bell 220U helicopter with registration number ET-AMR was taking off from the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport general aviation ramp at about 10 am. While the chopper was attempting to ascend to cruising altitude, it went down and crashed due to engine failure. The passengers were missionaries going to attend a meeting in Hawassa town, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State located some 275 km south of Addis Ababa.  

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau told the Reporter that all the crew and passengers were rescued with no causality. The bureau said the helicopter crashed from a hovering height but the impact was so intense that the helicopter was heavily damaged. Fire did not break out during the crash.   

Experts of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau went to the scene immediately and collected data from the crash site as well as from the crew. The bureau said it was investigating the cause of the crash.

Aircraft accident investigation follows five steps, viz. data collection, interpretation, analysis, conclusion and recommendation. The bureau would soon complete the preliminary accident investigation report and submit its findings to all relevant bodies. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau used to be an agency within the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), and was organized as an independent entity under the Ministry of Transport based on recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which audited the authority in 2014.      

Reliable sources told the Reporter that the twin-engine helicopter crashed due to power loss. The bureau on its part said that it could not disclose the cause of the accident before completing the investigation. 

According to information obtained from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Registration and Air Worthiness Certification Directorate, the Bell 222U helicopter was imported and registered in August 2008. The helicopter was manufactured in 1986 by Bell Helicopter in the US, and as of June 2016, the helicopter had logged a total of 3,891 flight hours.

A senior official of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority told the Reporter that the Aircraft Registration and Air Worthiness Certification Directorate yearly inspects and certifies all commercial aircraft operating in Ethiopia. TNA’s helicopter was last inspected and certified in October 2016. “The air worthiness certificate is valid until October 2017. The helicopter was technically sound,” the official said.

General Manager of TNA Terefe Haile (Capt.) told the Reporter that the helicopter was maintained and properly operating. “Accident could occur any time. It was unfortunate that this accident occurred. The most important thing here is that our crew and valued customers were not injured. Regarding the cause of the crash, you can get detailed information when the preliminary investigation report is released,” Terefe said.  

TNA, one of the 24 subsidiaries of MIDROC Technology Group, was established in 2004 and operates two Bombardier Dash8-200 aircraft, each with 37 seats. TNA provides charter flight services to oil and mining companies, tour operators, UN agencies and other international organizations. Most of the time, the aircraft are leased out to international organizations in Sudan and other African countries on wet-lease basis. The company also provides pesticide and locust control spray services with two Ayres Turbo–Thrush light aircraft. 

Two years ago, TNA launched domestic scheduled flight services to Gondar and Humera towns but suspended the operation for commercial reasons. Last year, ECAA temporarily suspended TNA’s air operator certificate (AOC) after the company failed to submit full safety procedure manuals. Following a discussion between senior officials of ECAA and the management of TNA, the company presented the missing documents and regained its AOC.

Sources said that TNA acquired the Bell 222 helicopter in 2008 from a US based company called American General Supplies (AGS). “It was an ageing helicopter prone to accident,” sources said.

Experts of the Accident Investigation Bureau, however, argue that the helicopter was regularly overhauled and inspected. “It was air worthy. What matters is not the age of the aircraft. Rather, it is the quality of regular maintenance and inspection work undertaken. There are older helicopters than this one that are still air-worthy,” the experts said.

ECAA imposes age limits on aircraft imported to the country. The aviation regulation enacted by the ECAA in June 2013 stipulates that passenger aircraft should not be more than 22 years old while cargo aircraft should not exceed 25 years of age.  

When TNA’s chopper was registered in 2008, it was 22 years old. “Since the helicopter was imported in 2008 and the regulation was enacted in 2013, rules could not be applicable on this rotorcraft,” a senior official of ECAA told the Reporter. ECAA checks the date of manufacture of an aircraft before it is imported. Once it is registered and starts operating in the country, it can operate for decades provided it satisfies the annual inspection and certification process.     

Among 15 registered private airlines in Ethiopia, offering charter flight services, only seven are currently in operation.