ATO grounds 2 Asian Spirit aircraft
- Sheila Crisostomo () - September 7, 2002 - 12:00am
They have been grounded.

The two De Havilland-7 planes in the Asian Spirit airline fleet were grounded yesterday by the Air Transportation Office (ATO) after one of the planes crash-landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last Thursday.

"As standard operation procedure, the ATO has grounded the De Havilland aircraft of Asian Spirit pending an investigation (into) the incident," ATO chief Adelberto Yap said.

One of Asian Spirit’s De Havilland-7 planes bound for Caticlan, Aklan was forced to make an emergency landing at 6:30 p.m. last Thursday due to a malfunction in the plane’s landing gear. Asian Spirit Flight 6K897 left NAIA for Caticlan at 3:36 p.m.

The plane’s 45 passengers — 40 South Koreans, two Americans and three Filipinos — were unharmed but the De Havilland’s belly was wrecked by the crash-landing. The plane’s passengers were mostly holidaymakers bound for the resort island of Boracay.

Yap said Asian Spirit has 12 aircraft in its fleet, including the De Havilland craft and Cessna 235 and Let 412 planes.

The De Havilland, or Dash, aircraft, Yap said "are eight to 10 years old." According to Yap, these planes are "relatively new, compared to aircraft that could be in use for 20 years. Only Asian Spirit is using (aircraft of) this type."

Barely four minutes into the flight, the pilot noticed that the plane’s hydraulic system was malfunctioning. Two parts of the plane’s landing gear were found deployed while the plane was in flight, with the third part of the gear tucked under the plane’s belly. The rear right wheels of the landing gear failed to deploy, pilot Carlos Kintanar said.

The pilot turned the plane back and headed for Manila, where he crash-landed the aircraft into a grassy spot one kilometer from the NAIA runway.

Kintanar kept the De Havilland-7 in the air for two hours, circling Las Piñas City for 35 minutes, to consume fuel and prevent the plane from exploding when he made his emergency landing.

"We’ll be inspecting all De Havilland planes and they will remain grounded until we find out what happened," Yap added.

ADELBERTO YAP AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE ASIAN SPIRIT ASIAN SPIRIT FLIGHT CARLOS KINTANAR CATICLAN DE HAVILLAND HAVILLAND LAS PI PLANE
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