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Merpati Crash

Same as crashed aircraft but not this registration

Same as crashed aircraft but not this registration

Horrible to be writing this but another month, another crash. 2009 is turning out to be quite a bad year for Indonesian aviation and Papua in particular.

On the 2nd of August a Merpati Twin Otter PK-NVC on a scheduled flight from Sentani to Oksibil was reported overdue. This morning the Chief Pilot of AMA found the aircraft at 9300 feet in the side of a mountain near Amisibil. It appears that it may well be the usual story of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). At this stage the fate of the 16 people on board is unknown but in such a harsh environment there is unfortunately little hope.

This comes a month after the EU lifted the ban on four Indonesian airlines – Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, PremiAir and Airfast Indonesia. The ban was lifted on these 4 because of the work they had accomplished in improving their safety systems. The ban remains on all other Indonesian operators because of the poor oversight and monitoring of the Indonesian civil aviation authority, the Directorate General Civil Avitaion (DGCA).

Merpati are particularly under-resourced, they are state-owned operator like Garuda Indonesia but are far more problematic. They have a small but aging fleet and with this crash it is believed they only now have 1 serviceable Twin Otter. These aircraft operate in one of the toughest flying environments in the world yet lack the tools to help keep them safe. They are equipped with a very ancient GPS unit, a usually non-functional transponder without a traffic alerting system (TAS/TCAS/ACAS) and do not have a terrain awareness system (TAWS).

Something has to be done because this is just beyond stupid.


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