KATHMANDU, June 28: Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has revoked the license of an instructor pilot after he was found involved in serious flight safety negligence.
The civil aviation regulatory body scrapped the license of Swiss national Jurg Segessenmann, an instructor pilot at Manang Air. He has already left the country. CAAN scrapped his license for the safety negligence he demonstrated during a flight.
According to sources, Segessenmann had received a flying license from CAAN at the recommendation of Manang Air back in March and he had been flying a Manang Air helicopter. His breach of safety rules occurred during a flight from Kathmandu to Resunga, Gulmi.
“The weather was bad. An investigation was initiated following a complaint that the instructor pilot had taken the helicopter deep inside the clouds,” said a CAAN source. “Initially, he was asked to furnish clarifications. But investigations carried out after the clarifications were found to be not satisfactory and his license was scraped.”
The complaint was filed against him although he landed the helicopter safely.
According to CAAN regulations, helicopters are allowed to fly only by the Visual Flight Rule (VFR). Helicopter pilots are supposed to fly in such a way that they are able to constantly see the land surface.
“Helicopters are supposed to be flown without entering the clouds. This is a mandatory flight safety rule,” said a senior CAAN official. “In our country, flights are conducted above difficult terrain, slope land and mountains. This is often risky.”
CAAN had introduced a new regulation in March, 2017, scrapping the license not just of the pilot but of the helicopter operator also if the no cloud-entry rule is found violated.
CAAN had concluded that the frequency of air accidents was not likely to decrease unless this rule was enforced stringently.
Seven persons were killed when a Fishtail Air helicopter met with an accident on its way to Kathmandu from Gorkha on August 8, 2016. A day after that tragic accident a decision was taken not to allow helicopters to fly through cloud formations.
CAAN investigations had shown that the pilot’s decision to fly the helicopter through thick cloud was responsible for the accident. As per CAAN regulations, a pilot in the air has to take in all information about weather conditions . Likewise, pilots are required to return and land safely if VFR is not possible until the weather improves.