MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said Monday it grounded all of its Huey helicopters after an aircraft of the same type crashed in Bukidnon over the weekend, killing all 7 passengers.
Air Force Spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said protocol dictates that all aircraft similar to the one that crashed last Saturday needed inspection.
The “Hueys,” short for the UH-1H and UH-1D models, are Vietnam War-era helicopters that have been refurbished. They serve as the main workhorses of the PAF.
The crash in Impasug-ong town, Bukidnon last Saturday killed 2 pilots, 2 crew members, a member of the Philippine Army and 2 CAFGU members.
The helicopter was supposed to deliver supplies to the Philippine Army’s 8th Brigade patrol base when the incident happened.
The incident was the fourth Air Force helicopter crash in 6 months, 3 of which involved Hueys.
A Huey crashed shortly after take off in Cauayan, Isabela last July, leaving 4 personnel dead.
In September, another 4 people died after an Air Force Sikorski air ambulance crashed in Basilan.
In November, another Huey crashed in Lanao del Sur, injuring passengers.
Galang, however, said it was too early to attribute the crashes to the age or frequency of flying of the aircrafts.
There could be a number of factors to consider in each crash, he added.
Galang earlier said the Huey helicopters are “well-maintained.”