Ilorin — Aviation experts yesterday attributed frequent air crashes in Nigeria to lack of capacity for aircraft maintenance and refusal to comply with standard protocols in the aviation sector.
Leo Daniel and Christopher Odetunde, both Professors of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Kwara State University, Malete said training of capacity for maintenance of aircraft as well as strict compliance with standard procedure would go a long way in checking air crashes in Nigeria.
They stated this during a seminar on aeronautics and astronautics organised by the College of Engineering and Technology (CET), KWASU.
Speaking on "World View of Aviation: A case for better Nigerian Aviation Policies", Odetunde noted that though Nigeria has adequate laws in place to secure the country's airspace, most of those laws were barely enforced.
"One of the things we talk about in aviation is, are people well prepared, do we train people well as to recognise aviation faults? How do we make sure that if we know there is a problem in aviation, we can stop it? We can do this by making sure that people follow the right procedure. What is happening is that people are cutting corners and when you cut corners in aviation, people suffer, a lot of people die.
"In fact when you look at aviation, those who fly are the creme-de-la-creme of the society. So when you kill one of them, you kill so many tentacles; people that they are supporting, you kill so many families. So it is important that we look at our communication system, the surveillance system, security system and the engineering system.
On aircraft maintenance, he said: "The first thing you do is you make sure the aircraft coming into this country are airworthy. Secondly, when they come in, you get all our maintenance people to look at it carefully and to certify that it is airworthy before you start flying. Unfortunately, many of these aircraft that are not airworthy, we still fly them thinking that act of God would save us from crashes and it has not happened. Until we start following the protocol, making sure that everybody that is involved, all the laws are followed, then we would be having crashes."
In his lecture titled, "Technological Readiness Level of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Nigeria", Leo, who is the Provost of the College said that "the cause of crashes is maintenance. Absolutely nothing more than maintenance. For example, a plane leaving Abuja to Ilorin must be checked before taking off but to my surprise, that's not done. A plane flies and drops, nobody looked at what happened. For example the hydraulic system, what happens to hydraulic system? The hydraulic system is the engine of the aircraft. If anything goes wrong with the hydraulic system, the feeding of the engine would just disappear and the engine would stop.
"So those things are part of the maintenance issues. We have to really look into that issue and see where the government can come in to help maintain aircraft, create capacity for that. Creating a capacity means training and also building infrastructure to have ability to take aircraft in most of our airports particularly the international aircraft that come to Nigeria.
"They do not have their maintenance here, they do it there and fly and then go back and do their maintenance. They don't do it here and that is a very risky business because aircraft landing in an airport, the airport should have the ability to maintain that aircraft, to see whether it is ready to fly again."