Transmission or flight system malfunctions may be to blame

A fault in the transmission or a malfunction of the hydraulic flight system of the helicopter are the two most likely causes of the crash that killed all 17 people on board the fated Chinook. As pilot Thanassis Goudiras, with more than 22,000 flying hours in the air force and civil aviation to his credit, told Kathimerini: «A pilot has very little room to maneuver in those two cases: A faulty transmission means the helicopter loses support because the propellers stop turning, while a flight system malfunction means the Chinook goes out of control.» As for the likelihood of the accident being caused by contact between the propellers, Goudiras explained that this could happen if the Chinook suddenly tipped more than 2.5 degrees. However, he said «that would be foreseen by the pilot and it wouldn’t be fair to blame the pilot, who was none other than Dimitris Papadimitriou, the squadron’s highly experienced chief.» Tracking Refuting the argument that the civil aviation authority (YPA) had no operational involvement, Goudiras – who has worked for the air force’s VIP transport service – commented: «Once the helicopter submitted a flight plan, the main responsibility for keeping its signal under observation belonged to YPA, because it uses specific flight paths. «Since the helicopter did not arrive at Mount Athos at the expected time, YPA should have activated the search-and-rescue procedure. Normally the operation should have begun one hour at the latest after the expected arrival time in Karyes.» According to Goudiras, the helicopter’s route should have been followed both by the YPA and armed forces radar. But even if the Chinook was flying low and YPA radar lost trace of it, military radar at Pelion and Hortiatis should have been able to locate it at any time under normal conditions. As for suggestions that the helicopter was poorly maintained, Goudiras claimed that civil aviation and air force planes are the same. The Defense Ministry committee will present its conclusions as to the cause of the accident in its report, which will probably be published after the main fuselage of the Chinook has been salvaged.

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