Aviatour disputes findings on Robredo plane crash

Posted at 08/29/2012 7:14 PM

'Nepalese was a passenger, not co-pilot of Robredo plane'

MANILA, Philippines – Aviatour Air, owner of the downed aircraft carrying Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, denied that there are discrepancies in its documents as shown in the initial findings of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Aviatour director of flight school in training and safety Capt. Antonio Jureidini claimed that the findings of CAAP special investigator 1 Cesar Lucero were wrong, and that the Piper Seneca plane owned by Capt. Jessup Bahinting was authorized to be used both for chartered flights and flight training.

He also questioned Lucero’s qualification as an aircraft accident investigator, saying if Lucero is not qualified, “then he is not qualified to say anything about the accident.”

“Perhaps he is just giving his opinion as his own as an individual,” Jureidini told ANC’s “Top Story.”

Kshitz Chand

Jureidini also said Bahinting’s co-pilot Kshitz Chand was onboard the plane not as a training pilot but as a passenger.

He said Bahingting brought along with him Chand so he will have a companion on the way back to Cebu.

“The Piper Seneca is an airplane certified by the manufacturer and by the CAAP that they can be flown by one pilot only, it really does not need a co-pilot,” he said.

Jureidini added that it is the pilot’s discretion to allow another pilot to join the flight as long as that person has a license.

Inspection

Jureidini said the Piper Seneca plane which crashed underwent annual inspection and preventive inspection every 25, 50, 75 and 100 flying hours.

He said CAAP officials have the documents showing the exact dates of the inspection.

Jureidini also disputed reports that Avaitour is not licensed to operate, saying its air operator’s certificate is still valid and will expire on November 14, 2012.

Meanwhile, CAAP is also examining the right engine of the plane, which authorities said is a crucial piece of evidence in determining the cause of the crash that killed Robredo, Bahinting and Chand.