The ill-fated Piper Seneca plane that plunged into the sea 200 meters off Masbate


In land transportation, it is the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that registers vehicles.

In air transpo, it is the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that does the job.

As an SOP, owners of private air vehicles are required to comply with requirements that include submission of faithful flying hours records of any plane or helicopter, replacement of parts if a particular flying hours is reached, etc.

I have been told by a CAAP insider that cheating in flying hours records has been rampant in order for aircraft vehicles to be registered without resorting to expensive replacement of parts that must be replaced as a minimum standard of airworthiness when a certain flying hours is reached.

Looking at the Piper Senaca plane (not Cessna as erroneously reported earlier), the first reports said that the cause of the crash was engine trouble. This means, it is very much possible that there were material parts in the engine that were already worn out due to flying hours but these were not replaced.

Now, we are confronted by the fact that it was no less than one more good man in Jessup Bahinting, the owner of the plane, that piloted the plane along with a Nepalese who was a student of his L'Aviatour school in Mactan.

(DOTC Mar Roxas said that Bahinting volunteered to fly the emergency medicine from Manila to Cebu for a child bitten by a snake.  That child reportedly survived. The man who literally gave her one more lease on life is now presumably dead.)

Of course, it cannot be imagined how this corruption could have been permitted to happen in that small Piper Seneca propeller plane if the pilot was confident in flying it and he was no less than its owner who has dozens of aircraft vehicles in his flight school and who has a company in Texas, USA selling planes

Looking at CAAP, it has always been hogging headlines for corruption, from the time of Gloria Arroyo until P-Noy kicked out his appointee Ramon S. Gutierrez and replaced him with EDSA hero ex-Lt. General William Hotchkiss, former Air Force chief.

Registration and renewals of registration of private air vehicles are some of the materially risky areas that Hotchkiss must look into and arrest whatever kinks that may be found.

Hotchkiss must also look into the illegal withdrawals from the $12-million fund of CAAP allotted for expenses needed for compliance with category ratings. Remember that Philippines rating has been downgraded to an alarming level.

Another area that Hotckiss must look into is the indiscriminate hiring of "consultants" that has resulted in redundancy in items of works in CAAP.

For example, why should kicked-out Gutierrez hire hundreds of consultants? As examples, he hired another lawyer as "OIC" head of the Legal and Enforcement Division of CAAP when there is a lawyer there who holds that item in regular capacity.

Hotchkiss must also look into cheating in giving pilot's licenses. 

For example, there is this one foreigner who applied for a pilot's license before the CAAP. The travel record of this alien shows that he was only two days in the country yet he was accredited with 56 flying hours when two days is equal only to 48 hours.

Moreover, before Hotckisss took over in June 2012, two small plane accidents already occurred too recent, one of them right at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). 

This Robredo crash is the first for Hotckiss, a product of the AFP Flying School and the only non-PMAyer to become the chief of the Air Force.

Whatever are the circumstances, CAAP MUST EXPLAIN.

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