Nepal | August 08, 2020

Recent air crashes expose CAAN’s failure

Rajan Pokhrel
Share Now:
9N-AKF helicopter owned by Simrik Air

9N-AKF helicopter owned by Simrik Air that crashed in Gorkha recently.  Photo: Simrik Air/File

KATHMANDU: Recent chopper accidents and incidents related to aviation after the April earthquake have yet again exposed the failure of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to standardise its flight operations requirements, especially on pilot training and licensing.

Though Annex 1 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation clearly states that the approved training organisation can only issue the type ratings to the flight crew certifying them to command any specific type choppers, CAAN does not have the ATO for such task, according to a senior CAAN official.

As per CAAN’s current practice, a fresher having a commercial pilot’s licence can join any chopper operating companies and obtain training on his/ her own. Interestingly, CAAN also sets a requirement of minimum of five hours of flight training for initial type conversion in single-pilot helicopters, but has not clarified how can such trainings be all enough for the trainees to have type rating on initial, recurrent, conversion and upgrade ground trainings.

For instance, how an AS350-B2 rated or fresh CPL holder can be easily entrusted to jump into another type chopper being that a BELL-Jet Ranger 206B III-9N-AII or AS 350-B3+ without thoroughly checking the minimum requirements by the ATO’s instructor pilots, an aviation expert said.

“Are the instructor pilots at CAAN equally qualified to grant respective type ratings to all CPL or air transport pilot’s licence holders?” a senior captain with a private airlines wondered. Whether it is the ICAO raising significant safety concern or European Union’s ban on airlines under the safety oversight of CAAN, the management of regulatory body often eyed for million-dollar projects rather than doing its bit for the improvement of air safety standards, he added.

According to a source, private helicopter operators on Tuesday urged CAAN’s Director General Sanjiv Gautam and Safety Department Chief Bhesraj Subedi among other senior officials to improve the regulatory practices for safety improvement at the earliest. The meeting was called by CAAN to discuss recent air accidents and incidents.

On May 12, a US Marine chopper went missing while in rescue operations. It was found crashed near Charikot three days later, with all on board dead. On June 2, a chopper belonging to Mountain Helicopters Pvt Ltd crashed in a jungle in Yamuna village of Sindhupalchowk. All four on board, including the pilot, were killed. The chopper had crashed after hitting a transmission line. Yesterday, a chopper belonging to Simrik Air crashed in Samagaun of Gorkha while taking off. No one was killed, but the chopper was completely destroyed.

“CAAN is reviewing its flight operations requirements for helicopters by forming a committee led by senior captain Gunj Man Lama,” one of the participants of the meeting quoted CAAN executives as saying in the meeting.

Licensing of personnel or services implies enforcement actions in case of non-compliance with stipulated conditions extending from reprimand to revocation of the licence.

“The dichotomy, however, is evident when CAAN boasts of numerous enforcement actions on licensed pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians with many airlines, it finds itself at a loss of words when the details of its licensed personnel within the organisation against whom enforcement action has been taken in the past is sought,” he added.

A version of this article appears in print on June 24, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Student enrolment remains uncertain

Kathmandu, August 6 Mainly private schools in the country have been running online classes. However, due to poor internet facility and frequent power cuts, online classes have not been effective in Nepal. Preparations to resume student enrolment since August 17 have been marred by increasin Read More...

Community spread feared in Siraha

Siraha, August 6 The spread of COVID-19 in the community has caused terror in Siraha of late. Just yesterday, four persons involved in different occupations tested positive for the virus here, according to District Health Office. Two of the four are health professionals of a polyclinic; one Read More...

VTM crunch hits Banke

Nepalgunj, August 6 The shortage of Viral Transport Medium used for collecting and transporting swab samples has hit the health offices in Banke. The local levels bought the VTMs and offered them to health offices as they did not have it. Mayor of Nepalgunj sub-metropolis Dhawal Shamsher Ra Read More...

Isolation centre vandalised over food quality

RAJBIRAJ, AUGUST 6 COVID-19 patients recuperating at an isolation centre in Saikrishna Medical College, Rajbiraj, vandalised the facility and refused to eat the food provided to them today as the food was of ‘low quality’. As tension ran high, a Nepali Army team from the Bhim Dal Battalion Read More...


Environmental study procedure issued

Kathmandu, August 6 The government has developed ‘Procedure for Concise Environmental Study and Initial Environmental Examination-2020’ to make CES and IEE systematic and effective. The procedure is expected to aid in implementation and monitoring of development projects to be operated und Read More...

House sealed after coronavirus claims man

Rajbiraj, August 6 A house at Rupani Rural Municipality was sealed after a person died due to COVID-19 in Saptari today. Bindeshwor Sah, 45, of the rural municipality died when he was taken to Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences on Tuesday. Sah’s final rites were halted afte Read More...

NCP Deputy parliamentary party leader Nembang meets Co-chair Dahal  

KATHMANDU: Deputy parliamentary party leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, met Pushpa Kamal Dahal, on Thursday.   Dahal’s Personal Aide Bishnu Sapkota said Dahal told Nembang that he should also convince the PM Read More...

Media face hard times in Chitwan

Chitwan, August 6 With economic activities down in the wake of the COVID-19 menace, media have been adversely impacted here of late. The advertisement market has declined so drastically that media hardly get anything by way of revenue. This has resulted in the media industry dwindling. Four Read More...