Revealed: how unethical practice crashed late Agagu’s plane

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Following the eventual crash of the chartered Embraer 120 aircraft belonging to Associated Airlines which was conveying the dead body of former Ondo State governor, Chief Olusegun Agagu, vital information is beginning to hit the surface as an aviation expert revealed the reasons for the unfortunate incident.

A number of unprofessional practices were fingered as the cause of the crash of the ill-fated 30-passenger aircraft which had only 20 people on board but was overloaded with reserve fuel.

The source who preferred anonymity revealed that at the time it crashed, the aircraft had a “five-hour endurance fuel” on board which he noted as a major burden for the aircraft.

He disclosed that the plane actually needed only about a third of the aforementioned quantity of fuel for the return trip from Lagos to Akure.

“It is true that the plane is designed for 30 passengers and there were only 20 passengers on board, but it was loaded with too much fuel, and that is professionally wrong”, the source confirmed.

The aviation expert also said that the aircraft had five-hour endurance fuel which was sufficient for a return journey that would not take more than one hour.

“Remember that the aircraft was also carrying a corpse, and you know that the weight of a corpse is more than that of a living person.

This, he noted combined with “the weight of the casket and the volume of fuel in the aircraft probably weighed it down as it approached the air”.

“The foregoing was compounded by the fact that the two engines of the aircraft might not have been in perfect conditions. Hence, when one of the engines packed up, the weight of the aircraft became too much for the other.

“As it taxied for take-off, the pilot probably realised that the plane had lost an engine, but he believed that he was already at a point that we in the aviation sector call the “critical point of no return.” If he had aborted the flight at that point, the impact would have been much more.

“The pilot probably had to continue to go up or ‘ pull off ‘ in the hope that the other engine could take the aircraft to a level where it could return to land and abort the flight. But whereas it is possible to stabilise with one engine when an aircraft is in the air, it is very dangerous to take off or land with one engine.”

The source also took time to explain the various stages of control before an aircraft is airborne when he stated: “There are four stages of control. The first stage is on the ground when the necessary checks are made to certify the aircraft fit.

“The second is the tower stage where the control tower declares the captain free to take off.

“The third is the approach stage where the control tower monitors the aircraft to see that it stabilises.

“The fourth is the radar stage when the plane is airborne and communication between the pilot and air traffic controllers is possible”, the source explained.

The aircraft which crashed few minutes after take-off was said to be at the third stage of take-off control which is termed ‘approach’.

It will be recalled that 13 people: the owner of Nigeria’s most popular casket making/marketing outfit, MIC Funeral Company, Mr. Tunji Okusanya and his son Tunji Okusanya Jnr, four of his staff, the pilot of the plane, Captain Yakubu and five others have been confirmed dead.

The remaining seven people who survived the crash including the son of the deceased former governor have been hospitalized.

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