NCAA clears Aero Contractors over air return incident

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has cleared the pilot of Aero Contractor who captained the Flight NIG382 that made an air return having suffered bird strike.

The NCAA DG declared that the pilot of the flight acted professionally in returning to base after it encountered a bird strike on take-off at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omagwa.

Speaking on the incident, Nuhu said that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-500 with registration number 5N-BKR which took off from Port Harcourt and heading to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja encountered the bird strike incident.

According to the NCAA DG, the pilot of the said flight made a circuit and returned to base within eight minutes after the incident even as he emphasized that the action of the pilot was in order.

The Abuja bound Aero Contractor aircraft had left the Port Harcourt airport with 91 souls consisting of 85 passengers and six crew members onboard at 2:06 pm but returned to base at 2:14 pm having encountered bird strike.

While declaring that the incident led to the damage of the aircraft’s blade, Nuhu however added that the airline’s engineers were already fixing the damaged part of the aircraft.

Following the incident, Aero Contractors was said to have brought another aircraft to airlift the passengers to Abuja within 90 minutes of the incident.

According to Nuhu: “A Boeing 737-500 aircraft with the registration number: 5N-BKR belonging to Aero Contractors departed Port Harcourt to Abuja, but, during takeoff, it had a bird strike and the pilot continued the take-off, made a circuit and returned to base.

“That is what is supposed to be done. Pilots are trained for that. At the point he had the bird strike, he could not abort the takeoff. So, he continued with the takeoff and returned to base. They restarted the engine and discovered that some parts of the blades were damaged. Within 90 minutes, Aero Contractors came with a different aircraft to rescue the passengers.

“As we speak, maintenance is going on to fix the damaged blade and when they finish, NCAA inspectors will inspect it and certify it if all the parameters; engines, blades and others are okay, they will be released for flight.”

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