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Private helicopter services lack surveillance

  • Published at 12:56 am October 3rd, 2016
Private helicopter services lack surveillance
Uses of the chopper service, varying from commercial purposes to travel or medical demands, have increased a lot during the last few years Professionals now prefer the chopper service to avoid long travels and wastage of time, industry insiders said. Helicopter is now being rented on various occasions including marriage ceremony, film and advertisement shoot, political programmes or garment manufacturing factory visit outside the capital, as a method of quick movement saving time and long journey hassles. But due to the lack of surveillance by regulator Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) has posed severe threat to this newly emerging business sector. The recent incident of chopper crash in Cox’s Bazar killing one passenger has shed light on poor regulation and monitoring mechanisms by the regulator. CAAB sources said Meghna aviation helicopter R66 which crashed on September 16 at Ukhia had no permission to take off from Cox’s Bazar. It was only permitted to go till Cox’s Bazar, but after reaching the destination it took off to Inani beach under Ukhia upazilla of the district. It is alleged that the helicopter accident occurred as a consequence of regularly violating the rules. The surveillance is extremely weak, CAAB sources said. It’s quite tough job to inspect 18 helicopters for only one Inspector, they argued. At present, a total 9 organisations are renting over 20 helicopters for commercial purposes. Several other organisations are waiting to get license. According to CAAB rules, every helicopter company will have to receive fitness certificate before taking off. Helicopter companies have to take permission at least six hours prior to the take off. Sources said most of the helicopter companies submit ‘blank pad’ for the permission, where flying hour is put later after the flight, with the help of few dishonest CAAB officials. It is set rule that, helicopters must fly at least one thousand feet above which is often violated by the pilots, operating below 500 feet. Only two helicopter service companies are allowed to operate helicopter at night. But this law is also often violated . As per international Visual Flight Rule if any operator violates any rule, CAAB has the right to cancel the Airworthiness Certificate and the commercial license of the operator.