Friday, February 26, 2010

No widowmaker tag on our planes, please—PAF

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Thursday appealed to the media and the public to refrain from using the terms “widowmaker" and “flying coffins" in describing its mostly secondhand aircraft.

Ako ay nagre-request sa ating kasamahan na siguro, kung pwede, ma-delete ang branding na widowmaker at saka flying coffin sapagkat ito ay nakakaapekto sa morale ng ating air crew," said PAF spokesman Lt. Col. Gerardo Zamudio in an interview on dwIZ radio.

(I'm making a request that maybe, if possible, please delete the branding [of our planes] as widowmakers and flying coffins because it affects the morale of our air crew.)

Zamudio said their families have been traumatized by such branding. “Every time na lilipad kami, kung ‘yan ay palaging nakatatak sa isipan, magiging trauma sa parte nila," he said.

(Even our families are traumatized if such terms are always imprinted in their minds, especially whenever we go on flying missions.)

Zamudio made the appeal a day after an OV-10 Bronco plane crashed in Tarlac province, killing its two pilots. Last month, eight soldiers, including a general, died when a military Nomad plane crashed in a residential area in Cotabato City.

PAF investigators are now determining the cause of the OV-10 crash, the seventh involving such aircraft. Zamudio said the remaining two OV-10 aircraft would be grounded pending the result of the investigation.

Despite the crash, Zamudio insisted that all their aircraft are well-maintained. “Kung ano ang bigay sa atin ng gobyerno, papangalagaan natin ito para ma-perform ang ating mission."

(Whatever the government provides us, we do our best to maintain them just so we can perform our mission.)

The OV-10 that crashed last Wednesday was a secondhand unit from the Royal Thai Air Force manufactured on June 16, 1971.

Zamudio said the investigation into Wednesday’s crash would be “very tedious" that would require checking the instruments of the crash plane and interviewing the range officer to determine the circumstances that could have led to the accident.

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