Aquino concludes Robredo plane crash probe

A fraudulent test flight clearance caused the death of late Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III announced this conclusion, citing the result of Aircraft Accident Inquiry and Investigation Board (AAIIB)’s investigation in a speech on Tuesday.

He revealed flight school Aviatour used “shortcuts to obtain favorable flight safety rating” in proving the airworthiness of one of its planes in November 2011.

Aviatour is an air taxi service that operated the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane that Robredo was on when it crashed in August.


Related Story: No foul play in Robredo crash


The chief executive also pointed out the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) granted Aviatour clearance even with the absence of test flight, a finding that is reflected in the aircraft logbook.

"Kung tama lang ang ginawa ng ilang tao, kung sinunod lang ang mga patakaran ng industriya, kung nanatili lang na matapat sa kanilang obligasyon ang ilang sangkot, tiyak pong naiwasan dapat ang nangyaring trahedya," President Aquino said in a speech.

AAIIB head Capt. Amado Soliman reported Aviatour flight instructor Capt. Federico Omolon III swore that he was asked to sign the flight test report without actually flying the plane.

In the investigation report, Soliman identified Capt. Jessup Bahinting, pilot of Piper Seneca plane who is also the owner of Aviatour who died in the crash, who approached Soliman.


Related Story: Puno tried to search Robredo condo, office


"Base sa ilang papeles na nalikom ng investigation panel, sangkot rin ‘di umano sa kuntsabahan ang Aviatour’s at ang isang inspektor ng CAAP sa tahasang paglabag sa mga regulatory requirements," President Aquino said.

He also noted Bahinting did not have enough training and expertise to fly a one-engine in operative emergency, which cost his own life as well as the lives of his co-pilot Kshitiz Chand and Robredo.

This prompted President Aquino to order for a review of all the permits issued to flying schools, air taxi operators, and maintenance organizations in reforming the aviation industry.

He warned the permits and licenses of those among 39 pilot schools, 24 aircraft maintenance organizations, and 21 air taxi operators who fail in the audit will be revoked.


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