Solomon Airlines questioned over captain’s reckless behaviour

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By Gary Hatigeva

THE Management of Solomon Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Solomon Islands (CAASI) have been urged to take swift actions into the case of the foreign pilot who was recently headlined for smoking in the cockpit.

Just a few days after reports of his smoking incident, Captain Raymond McClean was again alleged to have involved in another incident, which experts say, would cost the local airliner, thousands in US Dollars.

McClean who was reportedly hosting a training flight for one of the new graduates, upon landing at the Henderson Airport, unnoticeably received a burst tyre (pictured), which according to experts, was a result of hard force applied on the brakes, which they say is a bad judgement from the pilot’s part.

They suggested that the pilot’s judgement was weak, showing clear signs of incompetence and careless attitude from his part, knowing that the land (tarmac) will not move, they said he could have applied delayed deceleration, which would allow time for the plane to slow down, knowing that the runway is long.

But they further suggested that it was from careless and poor judgement, the tyre was forced into a halt motion, which created friction and torn it and caused the burst, which they said should put the trainer’s integrity and experience at question.

“Unless if he was drunk, or tipsy during the exercise, this incident can be drawn down to either the trainer is inexperienced or careless,” experts further added.

Insiders claimed that the pilot only knew about what had happened after being notified by officers on the ground who witnessed smokes coming out from the burst tyre.

The captain’s decision after being notified about the incident got a lot of those who witnessed the incident shocked to have seen that despite being informed, the pilot decided to ran with the flattened tyre into the hanger, instead of stopping on the spot when realizing the incident.

“Like any vehicles with wheels, one should know better that when you know you have flat or burst tyres, you don’t continue running, because that will only create more damages to the rim, and that was exactly what everyone on the ground feared when the trainer chose to run with a flattened tyre and an exposed rim all the way into the hanger,” our insider stressed.

Meanwhile, some of the regular travelling passengers of both the Dash 8 and the Twin Otter who also came across information of the tyre incident, are furious over the fact that despite all the revelations and evidences, the management saw it fit to keep the pilot, which they think could one day cause unwanted or more serious accidents.

“It is so obvious that this pilot is an ignorant, careless and incompetent pilot, whom I’ll never trust again to captain any of my flights to and from the islands,” one the concerned passenger spoken to and asked not to be named, stressed.

Meanwhile, those familiar with the aviation system also suggested that any approval for Captain McClean as an approved trainer should be revoked, knowing that even a regulation on smoking, which is paramount to almost all global airliners, means nothing to him.

Solomon Airlines management last week claimed that the airline was investigating the pilot’s smoking incident, but have been very quiet about the tyre incident despite follow ups for comments and confirmation.

But based on our research, the airline is likely to be spending up to $20,000 US Dollars in order to get the tyre fixed, and insiders worry that if this trend continues and nothing done, the country could be looking at more costs on repair of parts, rather than regular maintenances (servicing) for its airline fleets.

Also expressing similar concerns, a pilot interviewed, who asked unanimity, is also worried that from the nature of way incidents are happening, “if we are not careful, we can be putting people’s lives at risk, and so this issue must be looked into seriously”.