Full Investigation Required Into Fly Montserrat: Is Nigel Harris Flying Nearly 50-year-old Aircrafts into Montserrat?


Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media

Release Date

Thursday, September 26, 2019


The recent incident at the John A. Osborne Airport on Montserrat involving Fly Montserrat (FM) is another example of this airline's questionable track record around safety.

It was in April 2011 that FM had another such similar incident with an aircraft veering off the runway, and this time it was due to braking issues.

The incident MNI refers to is the one that took place on 17th April, 2011, involving FM registered aircraft Britten Norman Islander BN-2A-27, VP-MNI. Seven passengers and one crew were on board. The aircraft flown on that flight back in 2011 took its first flight in 1971, which made the aircraft 40 years old at the time this incident took place in 2011. 

Damage from the 2011 incident was reported to the nose structure, nose landing gear, left wing tip and left propeller.

(Image of Fly Montserrat incident from 2011. Image Credit to Aviation safety.net)

MNI thus asks, whether today, in 2019, Nigel Harris is flying aircrafts servicing Montserrat, that are almost 50 years old?

The information around the incident from 2011 from the investigators stated:

"Following an uneventful flight from Antigua-V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU), the aircraft made an approach to runway 10 at John A. Osborne Airport, Montserrat. After a normal touchdown the pilot applied the brakes and noticed that there was no resistance from the right brake pedal. While maintaining directional control with the rudder pedals the pilot tried to "pump" the brake pedals but this had no effect on the right brakes. To avoid departing the end of the runway the pilot applied left brake and allowed the aircraft to veer left onto the grass just beyond the taxiway exit. The aircraft struck an embankment located 20 m north of the runway edge, about 150 m from the end of the runway. The impact, which was estimated by the pilot to be at about 10 kt, resulted in damage to the nose structure and caused the nose landing gear leg to collapse. The left wing tip leading edge was also damaged when it struck the embankment"

What is further revealing is that the probable cause for the incident in 2011 was described as follows:

"The probable cause for the loss of right braking was trapped air in the right brake hydraulic lines. This air may have been present prior to the O-ring seal removal but was more likely to have been introduced during the seal removal and replacement. The engineer had carried out a brake bleeding procedure but he had not completed the full procedure as described in the AMM. He had not opened the bleed screw at the top of the right landing gear leg, and therefore air may have remained trapped in these lines. The investigation revealed the existence of several different brake bleeding procedures. The aircraft manufacturer had three different brake bleeding procedures, namely the Islander AMM procedure, the Trislander AMM procedure and their own production procedure. Three engineers from three different maintenance organisations had suggested that sometimes the manufacturer’s procedures were inadequate for completely bleeding all the air out and that a hand pump attached to the brake bleed screws was sometimes required."

MNI further came across a social media posting where a lady who was on this very same Fly Montserrat flight (she has informed MNI the year displayed in her post is a typo and she in fact was on the 2011 flight) where this incident occurred stated: 

She went on to state:

With regard to the recent incident that took place on Monday September 24th, 2019, MNI openly questions why was the aircraft removed that same night from the accident scene, with the weather being so bad that evening from all reports?

Why was there such a rush to remove the aircraft? Why was the aircraft not left at the scene of the incident so that the investigators who were due to come in could have seen the exact spot where the aircraft finally came to rest, after the skill of the pilot saved any further mishap.

Could this be tantamount to the accident scene being tampered with prior to the investigation, MNI asks? 

It is almost assured that any well trained air accident investigator would have gathered even more information if they had seen the plane in the exact position where it ended up.

Nigel Harris is being protected it would appear. The Governors who have served Montserrat; probably also too from DFID Officials (MNI has the details of how Nigel allegedly tried to ruin any chance of Montserrat having the ferry service returned); and possibly too Nigel has connections in ASSI that assist him in screwing over the air safety image of Montserrat.

The people of Montserrat both at home and abroad who use this airline should demand a full investigation into Fly Montserrat and Nigel Harris over the years.

MNI has long ago concluded that Harris, his minders and apologists are no true friends of Montserrat.

Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of Marketing, News & Information Media - MNI Media. He can be reached at jeevan@mnialive.com  

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