PAF pilots demonstrated skills in Sokol crash, prevented loss of lives

Philippine Air Force pilots’ skills were demonstrated in the recent incident involving the W-3A Sokol combat utility helicopter. “[In a]very low altitude, [it] takes a highly skilled pilot to maneuver the aircraft to prevent damage, or passengers to be hurt,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya on Friday.

“We consider what they have done is a demonstration of their skills, because very low altitude and they just took off and then they were able to maneuver the aircraft in such a manner that they were able to save themselves and their passengers,” Canaya said.

“The landing may not be perfect because of the surface they landed on but then again, the skills of the pilots was made apparent when they managed to land in a spot where it will not harm the passengers,” PAF spokesperson added.

“They are fully aware of what they are doing, they are very professional because they did not forget the basics of flying and they are conscious of different situations,” he added.

Air Force’s Sokol helicopters are all prevented to operate until full report of the recent crash is available. PAF also said the 2-year warranty of the crashed helicopter was exceeded.

PZL Swidnik S.A. of Poland got the award worth PhP 2.8 billion to deliver eight PZL W-3 Sokol helicopters for the Air Force in 2009 before the end of President Arroyo’s term. First batch was delivered February 2012 and the final batch last February 2013.

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