MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is forming a committee of aviation industry experts to investigate the plane crash that killed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, pilot Jessup Bahinting, and Nepalese co-pilot Kshitz Chand.
CAAP Director General William K. Hotchkiss said the formation of the expert committee is the latest in the series of actions the CAAP has taken after Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas ordered an "exhaustive investigation" into the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane that crashed about 800 meters off the shores of Masbate last August 18.
The CAAP earlier formed a composite team to immediately collect evidence pertaining to the crash. It also started its probe on Aviator Air, operator of the Piper Seneca plane used by Robredo.
CAAP has likewise grounded all aircraft used by Aviator Air pending the result of the investigation.
The committee headed by Soliman is co-chaired by vice chairman Capt. Beda B. Badiola. Its members include retired General Ramon A. Ragasa (representing general aviation sector), Capt. Felipe L. Timola, Jr. (representing airline industry), and Col. Allen T. Paredes (representing military aviation sector).
The "Special Investigation Committee...representing the various sectors of the Philippine aviation is hereby constituted and tasked to pursue the investigation surrounding the accident of RP-C4431," Authority Order 223-12 read.
Badiola is a PAL senior vice president, Ragasa is a retired PAF general, Timola is Cebu Pacific Airlines director for safety, while Paredes is also with PAF.
The committee was also directed to submit periodic reports on the progress of the investigation.
The same directive also called for the formation of four supports groups to work the committee: the human factor group, the airframe/structure group, the powerplant group, and the aircraft systems group.
Hotchkiss, in his directive, said the groups are "tasked to assist the Special Investigation Committee in performing the crash site investigation, collating and analyzing pieces of evidence of the subject aircraft accident."
The human factor group is composed of Dr. David Gil and Frank Barcenilla; the airframe/structure group is composed of Arnel Agan and Alberto Dizon; the powerplant group members includes Vic Panganiban and Engr, Manny dela Cruz; and the aircraft systems group is made up of Pablo Quiballo, Jr. and Socrates Coquia.