06 September 2014
All seven PAF Sokol helicopter now flyable (all photos : pdff)
MANILA (PNA) -- All seven W-3A "Sokol" combat utility helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) are now active and flyable.
This was stressed by Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya in a statement on Friday.
"Restrictions on the use of 'Sokol' were lifted on Aug. 15. Material factor was ruled out since no evidence points to material failure during initial investigation. The continuing investigation shifted to other contributory factors that affected human intervention. The investigation is still ongoing," he said.
Other factors being looked into include environmental ones, Canaya stressed.
He declined to comment on whether this could be contributory to the Marawi City crash last Aug. 7, adding that PAF investigators are still looking into this angle.
Earlier, all seven W-3 "Sokol" were grounded as a result of the mishap.
"As far as the aircraft is concerned, it is now safe to fly," Canaya pointed out.
The PAF acquired eight units of the "Sokol" from Polish manufacturer PZL-Swidnik and British-Italian firm AugustaWestland for Php 2.8 billion.
Two people, one civilian and one crew member, were hurt in the crash attributed to stiff headwinds.