MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said the Embraer A-29B "Super Tucano" attack aircraft which was recently damaged during a "routine" maintenance check flight is repairable and will be returned immediately to service once the needed parts and technicians arrive from Brazil.
"The damages on the aircraft are all reparable and Embraer will provide the parts at no cost to the PAF," it said in a statement posted on its Facebook page late Thursday.
The PAF said the aircraft was damaged following a routine maintenance equipment check flight (ECF) in Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
At the time of the mishap, the aircraft was being flown by a Brazilian instructor pilot from Embraer as "pilot-in-command" with the PAF 15th Strike Wing commander as "observer/passenger" during the flight.
"The aircraft sustained some damage during landing in Clark. The Brazilian Instructor Pilot had full control of the aircraft and responsibility for the flight. The Wing Commander was just a mere passenger observing the performance and flight characteristics of the aircraft as part of his functions," the PAF said.
Based on the assessment made by the aircraft manufacturer, the structural integrity of the aircraft is "very much intact and by replacing the component parts that were damaged, it will be put back to operational status."
The PAF said this was a commitment made by Embraer's top management and the aircraft will be immediately returned to service the soonest possible time.
Both the pilot and the observer did not sustain any injuries during the incident.
"The investigation by PAF and Embraer found that the Brazilian Embraer instructor pilot failed to initiate a go-around and prevent a positive landing. Embraer considered the event a minor flight incident that normally happens during flights," the Air Force added.
And per its contract, Embraer will assume full responsibility for the aircraft throughout the duration of the training period.
"That is why during this period, all the Super Tucano aircraft can only be flown if an Embraer pilot is also present in the flight," the PAF added.
Four of the A-29B close-support attack aircraft arrived on September 19 while the remaining two arrived on October 1.
Embraer pilots flew the aircraft from the company airfield in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made fueling stops in the Canary Islands, Portugal, Malta, Egypt, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, and Vietnam before landing in the Philippines.
The A-29B aircraft were earlier scheduled to be delivered by the end of July 2020 but the pandemic and subsequent travel bans skewed the delivery timetables.
The "Super Tucano" is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter-insurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training.
The contract for the six aircraft is worth PHP4.97 billion and was issued in late 2017. (PNA)