Statement from Channel Islands Air Search 09 October 2014
With the publication of the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) report into the incident involving the Channel Islands Air Search (CIAS) search and rescue aircraft, Lions’ Pride, in Jersey on 3 November 2013, CIAS has the following statement to make:
‘We accept the findings of the report, namely that the forced landing occurred because the aircraft was flown on the tip tanks, rather than the larger, main fuel tanks.
However, as with every accident, there are always a number of causal factors which should be noted. The configuration of the small tip tank switches on this particular Islander aircraft revealed a weakness in the aircraft design, something that was attributed to four similar tip tank aircraft accidents as noted in the AAIB report.
Additionally, flying conditions on the night were extremely challenging with low cloud, strong crosswinds and squally showers.
CIAS volunteer crews turn out in all weathers to save the lives of others and on this occasion, the urgency to save those lives unfortunately resulted in human error. However once it became clear the aircraft would not be able to make the runway at Jersey airport, the report described a ‘successful forced landing in extraordinary conditions’ which is testament to the incredible flying skills of the pilot involved.
We have improved our procedures and processes post the accident and are moving forward. All the interim aircraft and indeed our new aircraft have a revised and improved tip tank configuration. We have continued open dialogue with the Director of Civil Aviation to strengthen the operation of CIAS. This has resulted in an internationally recognised 30 page Safety Management System document as well as a robust pre-flight check list, all of which will make an incident such as this highly unlikely to ever occur again.
CIAS has provided search and rescue cover for Channel Islanders for over thirty years without incident, which is an amazing track record. We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from islanders, including all the incredible fund raising efforts and are glad to be back flying as the lifeboats’ eyes in the sky.’
For further information please contact Alison Robins or 01481 723456.