Jelebu airstrip did not have approval for flight operation, says Transport Ministry

On June 29, local media reported a light aircraft believed to be glider was found in a forested area in Purun, near Titi here, after crashing at about 3.30pm in the evening. ― Picture courtesy of Facebook/Kamal
On June 29, local media reported a light aircraft believed to be glider was found in a forested area in Purun, near Titi here, after crashing at about 3.30pm in the evening. ― Picture courtesy of Facebook/Kamal

JELEBU, July 3 — The airstrip built on private land in Kuala Klawang here has not received approval to conduct flight operation, says Transport Ministry Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) chief inspector, Capt Yahaya Abdul Rahman.

He said even though the construction of an airstrip on private land is allowed, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) should be informed for approval including the safety aspects.

“This is to ensure monitoring is carried out by the authorities on the suitability of the location and its proximity to public residence. Construction of airstrip on private land is allowed but it has to comply with the stipulated standard operating procedure (SOP).

“This included the distance of the runway from public areas so as not to endanger the local residents. This is the first we are visiting the airstrip and we are calling on CAAM to conduct safety inspection,” he told reporters after a visit to the location of a light aircraft crash on Saturday, here today.

On June 29, local media reported a light aircraft believed to be glider was found in a forested area in Purun, near Titi here, after crashing at about 3.30pm in the evening.

It was reported, there were two male victims, an American, Les Zsort Wrosmarty, 60 and Siow Moon Yoew, 56, a local, who were being treated at the private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

However, police investigation found the aircraft both victims were flying was a Tecnam light aircraft and not a glider as reported earlier.

Commenting further Yahaya said initial investigations of the accident found the light aircraft crashed a following windshear which caused the pilot to lose control.

He said the aircraft was bought by the US citizen for private flying and had flown according to the law.

Apart from that, he said the bureau had also taken statements from five individuals including the two victims to assist investigation.

Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry in a statement here today said the findings and further investigation required to be carried out is on about the airstrip suitability, crew proficiency, activation of search and rescue (SAR) and Availability of Air Traffic Control (ATC) communication coverage.

“Upon consultation with CAAM, they have no knowledge on the suitability of the airstrip, CAAM has not given any form of certification as aerodrome and the flying activities which were mainly in private capacity. Further investigation will be carried out to establish the safety of the airspace for low flying aircraft passing through the area.

“The pilot is an American national and a holder of US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) license certified for aerobatic flying and he has done several aerobatic flights previously during his stay in Malaysia. He is a member of Air Adventure Flying Club.

“Currently, he is also holder of Malaysian Private Pilot licence number 7872 expiring on 22 April 2020. His last licence proficiency check was done on 23 April 2019 on aircraft registration 9M-EEC,” the ministry said adding that there was no distress call made by the crew during the aircraft crashed.

It said the aircraft crashed in a remote area with extensive impact and there was no activation of Emergency Locator Transmitter to alert SAR or indication to ATC that the aircraft was in distress. — Bernama

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