An army helicopter crashed in Phayao province on Monday evening, killing all nine soldiers on board, including a deputy commander of the Third Army Area.
An official probe is underway into the causes of the crash. While there has been much speculation online about reasons for the incident, an aviation expert gave The Nation his views:
l The Bell 212 helicopter, the type in this incident, has two engines. There is very little possibility that both engines would malfunction at the same time.
l A Facebook post about limited visibility by one of the nine soldiers noted weather conditions on Monday morning. But the crash occurred in the evening when the weather was good.
l The helicopter was not overloaded at the time of the crash.
l The first pilot, Lt-Colonel Manit Surasena, was experienced. He was also a graduate from the Military Technical Training School. This counters an online post that described a pilot as a rookie.
l Although the Bell 212 was launched several decades ago, manufacturers of such aircraft have continued to produce new parts. So, owners of thousands of Bell 212 helicopters around the world can get new parts for maintenance.
l Parts from helicopter manufacturers are best. Helicopters that have these parts and proper maintenance should not be deemed old just because of their manufacturing year.