A Cessna 172, registered as 5Y-GSM, crashed yesterday near Malindi while on a training flight. The plane’s manufacturer’s serial number of 152-81599 was ascertained through the aircraft registry site which is available for public information.
The aircraft was assembled in 1978 and is now 38 years old, in itself no problem as long as regular prescribed maintenance is carried out to keep the plane in a state of airworthiness.
Reportedly on a training flight out of Malindi, the aircraft developed unspecified technical problems not long after taking off and eventually managed to land in the compound of a primary school, thankfully not injuring anyone on the ground, although sustaining damage to the undercarriage and propeller.
The instructor pilot and the trainee were both injured and taken to a local hospital but spared any more serious injuries.
The series of crashes of light aircraft, first near Naivasha which has by now cost two lives, and then a few days ago in Nairobi, where another training aircraft of similar make crash-landed and overturned after a technical malfunction, has again raised serious doubts on the capacity of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to exercise effective oversight on maintenance of aircraft, as all three crashes appear to have been caused by technical issues.
Police helicopters were also not spared from such mishaps as another one crashed in Nairobi, equally raising the question of maintenance and pilot competence, with the KCAA remaining silent and dodging searching questions from the public.