CAAP looking for Flight Check Aircraft,
the final piece of the puzzle
November 11, 2012
by Recto Mercene
THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) is offering P40 million for a one-year contract to a company, which can provide a flight-check aircraft to calibrate some 118 navigational aids (Navaids) throughout the archipelago.
A flight-check aircraft is specially designed to calibrate Navaids every six months to ensure they are beaming the correct signals for safe navigation.
Like any electronic equipment, Navaids are subject to the vagaries of weather and constant use—being on the air 24/7—and they get misaligned or deviate from their setting, according to Alger Ramo, a senior airport ramp controller.
The Caap hire or rent foreign flight-check aircraft to calibrate a few Navaids costing P3 million to P5 million when its flight-check airplane is under maintenance. It recently rented from a New Zealand company for a week.
Because of the high expense, the Caap bought its own flight check aircraft, a twin-engine Beechcraft “King Air.” However, it has been out of commission for years after its two engines required overhauling, the Caap said.
The engines were eventually repaired in India at a cost of P43 million, but problems still exist before they could be made operational.
Improperly aligned signals by a Navaid could lead to an aircraft going astray from air routes, which could spell disaster if not corrected on time, Ramo said.
Airplanes could also fail to be properly alignment in the runway if the signals are incorrect.
Clark, Subic and the Mactan-Cebu International Airports maintain their own Navaids. They are also designated alternate airports.
Ramo, a former pilot, said modern airplanes have redundant devices, such as Global Positioning System, relying on satellite signals to show the airplane’s location.
The efficient operation of all the Navaids is a requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Ramo added.