Fennec’s helicopter deviation main reason for Navy crash

THE final report by an investigation board established by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has found that the Fennec (M502-6) helicopter’s deviation from its course was the primary cause of the collision between two helicopters in Lumut last month.

Navy Chief, Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ayob (picture) said, the investigation board concluded that the Fennec helicopter was not at the designated altitude and direction, and had entered the path of the AW139 helicopter.

“The secondary factor was that the crew members of the AW139 helicopter were too focused on changing direction and could not react quickly enough to avoid the collision.

“This final report is consistent with the preliminary report issued earlier. This report will also be sent to the State Airworthiness Authority for record-keeping,” he said presenting the final report today.

The board, comprising nine officers from the navy who are experts in aviation and aerospace engineering, was also assisted by the air force’s directorate general technical airworthiness and medical doctors.

The crash, which occurred on April 23 during a rehearsal for the navy’s 90th anniversary event, claimed the lives of all 10 crew members on board the helicopters.

Abdul Rahman said the investigation board also sough cooperation, expertise and views from manufacturers (OEMs) namely Leonardo Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters.

“Airbus Helicopters confirmed that there was no Non Volatile Memory (NVM) equipment on the Fennec aircraft which could assist the investigation.

“Therefore the proof of the flight profile is done through flight simulation using a real aircraft.

“In fact, the Fennec aircraft was determined not to have any technical problems based on visual and sound analysis and documentation,” he said.

The investigation board also reiterated that all crew members involved were in good health and qualified to operate the aircraft.

The weather conditions were also found to be suitable for flight operations, and that maintenance work on both aircraft was conducted according to original equipment manufacturer procedures.

Both the AW139 and Fennec helicopters were declared airworthy on the day of the incident. — TMR