Certifying a troubled aircraft, setting up probe panel not reconcilable – Expert

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A US based aviation expert, Dr. Abel Johnson has frowned at the handling of the Dana Air fallen exit door incident, saying, “it is professionally wrong; safety wise to hurriedly certify an accidented aircraft safe within few hours and turnaround to set up a probe panel on the same plane that has been certified airworthy”.

He described the way and manner with which the incident is handled as against the laid down international best practices in aviation safety engineering.

He queried why an aircraft will be certified and at the same time be under probe while it is still flying than being grounded pending the end of investigations.

On the likely cause of the incident, Dr. Johnson averred that “It’s either there had been a previous repair works on that particular emergency exit door during which the engineer failed to tight firmly some holding bolts or the door rubber linings and associated fittings had expired and cannot firmly hold pressure.

“Besides, for an aircraft’s emergency exit door to fall off on landing pressure, means that the aircraft had lost the desired in-flight pressure needed to support aerodynamics during flight. For me, there are still certain things the public is not being told on the state of that particular aircraft.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), had said it has set up a four-man team to investigate the alleged incident involving Dana Air’s flight on Wednesday.

Trouble had started when a passenger had taken to Twitter to complain that the door of an aircraft belonging to the airline fell off upon landing in Abuja.

The passenger, Ola Brown, with Twitter handle, @NaijaFlyerDr, had tweeted, “Flew Dana. Exit door was unstable throughout the flight. As we touched down, it fell off. Scary stuff.”

Already, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said the agency was working to ascertain what actually happened.

He said “The affected plane has been certified safe and returned to service but we have set a four-man team to investigate what actually happened. If the plane was faulty, it would not have been cleared to take off”.

In a statement signed by Dana Air’s Media and Communications Manager, Kingsley Ezenwa, the airline claimed that the door was tampered with, but failed to establish the manner of tampering that would have caused the horrific incident, either by crew member or passenger.

The statement said, “Dana Air’s attention has been drawn to some online publication that the door of one of our aircraft fell off after landing and while taxing in Abuja today. We wish to state categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it.

“By design, the emergency exit door of our aircraft is plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger. We also wish to enlighten the author that when an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurised and there was no way the seat or door could have been ‘shaking’ as insinuated.”

The airline further claimed that a team of its engineers and others from the NCAA had inspected the aircraft and no issue was reported.

“There was also no threat to safety at any point. A thorough investigation is ongoing,” Dana Air averred.

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