Air Force choppers make emergency landing in Lanao

Posted at 12/18/13 7:56 PM

MANILA -- Two Air Force Huey helicopters, one of which carrying Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, had to make an emergency landing in Lanao del Sur last week after experiencing mechanical problems, the AFP chief revealed on Thursday.

"We did a precautionary landing because one of the helicopters in our party had some warning lights on. It is a standard procedure for the pilots to land and check what the problem is. But eventually, we were able to continue with our flight and reached our destination," Bautista said hours before three newly-acquired AW109 helicopters landed in Camp Aguinaldo.

According to the military's public affairs office, Bautista, who came from Pagadian City where he visited the Army's 1st Infantry Division, was bound for Maguindanao to visit troops of the 6th Infantry Division when the incident occurred last Tuesday.

The Huey helicopter that experienced engine trouble was the one serving as escort for Bautista's aircraft. The two helicopters landed at the old Malabang airport in Lanao del Sur.

The defective aircraft was later replaced by an MG-520 attack helicopter.

Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol, meanwhile, said he was not aware of the incident, noting that their operation center had no information about it.

The new AW109 helicopters will be used by the Naval Air Force and will complement the operations of two Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the United States.

The naval helicopters are scheduled to be inspected by President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday during the celebration of the AFP's 78th foundation anniversary.