The heart of all of Guyana and her diaspora have grieved for the victims of the fatal helicopter crash that occurred last week. We pray for the recovery of the two survivors. Guyanese thoughts and prayers have been with the families of all seven victims and of the entire service forces that have been fetching the burden of defending the nation. It is unfortunate that only one race has been bearing most of the burden in defending the border. Need not be stated that there needs to be a thorough investigation of the crash as a tribute to the sacrifices of the servicemen.
An investigation obviously needs to examine: How and why did the helicopter go down? Could anything have been done to avoid the disaster? Did weather play a role in the crash? We need answers to these and more questions.
We are not equipped for the task of investigating the crash no matter what the politicians or the service people say. We must call in the Americans to do or at least assist with the investigation. Our CAA should make a formal request to the American FAA to assist with the investigation. Or the President could make a formal request through the Ambassador that would be relayed to Washington for action. At any rate, the black box from the helicopter, already secured, will have to be analyzed, and it can only be done in USA where the helicopter was manufactured. We may as well ask the Americans to lead the investigation. And they will do it for free as is their norm and generosity when such a request is made.
It is in the interest of the Americans and the American manufacturers of the Bell helicopter (various models) to determine what went wrong, whether there were flaws in designs, defects in parts, etc. so as to effect correction. The USA government has purchased hundreds of helicopters in the tens of billions of American dollars from Bell in recent years. The government would want maximum safety and the best design so as not to compromise the lives of American service men and women who fly on the bell in varied missions. Thus, they would want to join, if not lead, the investigation of the crash to prevent a reoccurrence.
My limited knowledge of investigation of aviation disasters from past readings is if American manufactured aircraft or equipment or American parts used for manufacturing such aircraft are involved in an air disaster, the Americans send investigators to determine what went wrong. However, I was corrected by no less than a Guyanese American aviation disaster expert. A formal request has to be made to the FAA. Who would not want an investigation and for free?
There are several Guyanese who work for the FAA and the NTSB. Some are lead investigators of aviation crash or flight safety. Some test fly or even oversee the safety of flights to determine air worthiness or flaws in design. One gave me an instructive lesson on the process of investigating an aviation crash. He used all the terms used in aviation and appear au fait of all the helicopters (various models and brands) as well as airplanes as he rattled out the models to me. He knew the model that went down in Guyana jungle, its capabilities and some of its equipment. It is his job to know as he studied that subject. And that is why the American government hired him. If given the serial number, each helicopter has a serial number just like a car, he can tell when it was manufactured, previous owners of any, and when it was acquired by Guyana. For obvious reason, he can’t get involved officially or unofficially in an investigation unless instructed by the FAA. At any rate, our politicians don’t need his expertise or advice privately or unofficially. Our politicians know everything even though some never studied engineering or even visited a college classroom. Once we get a serial number, the history of the helicopter will be determined. Do we want to know the history of this particular helicopter?
In addition to Bell investigators and engineers, we need to bring in the FAA and NTSB to determine the cause of the crash. NATCA also becomes involved as it is the union representing workers who built the Bell. Once they are invited, every company involved in the production of the Bell — that made its several parts— will be mandated to appear at an inquiry and attest to the various components used in production. The amount of training provided to the pilots who flew the helicopter and servicing dates of the helicopter will also have to be revealed. All of this investigation will be provided for free once the request is made by CAA.
Just curious, my Guyanese aviation expert will like to know whether “a cvr/dvr” was made to NTSB headquarter to read the aircraft parameters or voice recording. I am informed that although there is a crash, the black box continues to record everything happening on the aircraft for two additional hours. Through the recording, I am informed, the investigators can conclude with almost certainty whether there was fire aboard before the crash and various factors (including pilot error) that contributed to this aviation disaster. It will also provide information on efforts by the crew to eject or abandon the helicopter before the crash.