SCAA speaks out on helicopters and drones


11-April-2012

“After several references and queries made in the press related to the SCAA following Helicopter Seychelles Limited (HSL) decision to stop their operation, the authority would like to clarify and state a few facts in relation to the cessation of HSL operations, and the US military drone accident,” said the press release.

“With regards to Helicopter Seychelles, it is to be noted that following a rigorous seven-month certification process, the SCAA issued Helicopter Seychelles with an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) on November 8, 2011.

“Helicopter Seychelles informed the SCAA in writing on March 21 that following three incidents, they were suspending operations temporarily.

“On March 29 Helicopter Seychelles sent a trade communiqué by email to trade partners announcing it is recommencing operations with full backing of the SCAA, quoting:

“The SCAA is satisfied that our aircraft, our pilots, our engineers, our operational support team and maintenance facilities comply fully with their rigorous requirements.  They do not judge us lightly and rightly so”.

The SCAA went on to say:
“The authority would like to confirm that this trade communiqué was issued without prior knowledge of the authority and the statement made without consultation with the SCAA.

“Following discussions with HSL relating to the incidents and mitigating actions that had been implemented since then, the authority agreed for HSL to resume operations.

“On March 30 the authority suspended HSL’s AOC in view of certain lapses in regulatory compliance.

“On April 4 the authority was formally advised by the HSL accountable manager that HSL would with immediate effect be ceasing operation and trading as a company.

“In a second trade communiqué again without consultation with the authority – dated April 3 Helicopter Seychelles also referred to ‘the extremely demanding requirements of the Seychelles CAA’. The authority would like to state that the regulatory regime that Helicopter Seychelles is subject to is the same as that which other operators are subjected to and comply with minimum standards set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“In reference to Mr James Mancham’s letter Crashing drones a worry published in the Nation of April 9 the SCAA reiterates that as a civil aviation authority, it does not have jurisdiction over military aircraft operations or investigation into accidents or incidents involving such aircraft except to the extent where civilian procedures, such as air traffic control or airport operations procedures, are involved. In the event of an incident involving civil registered aircraft and a military aircraft, the SCAA and the military authority work in very close coordination to determine the cause of the incident/accident.

“With regards to the article in the Nation of April 10, No more flights by US drones, and the quote from Mr Ray Mabus that ‘investigation into the accidents must be thorough and transparent’, the SCAA has the following comments to make:
“We will cooperate fully with the US military in their quest to ascertain the cause or causes of the accident.

“In actual fact the authority has been cooperating fully with the US military by providing full support in the wreckage recovery, photographic evidence as well as transcripts of communications between air traffic control and the unmanned air vehicle operator.”

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