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It is, frankly, disturbing that the body charged with ensuring aircraft and airline safety in this country, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa), has refused to make public a report into an incident earlier this year when a South African Airways aircraft got into serious difficulties.
In February, the Airbus A340-600 went into a nearstall situation not long after takeoff from OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg.
Recovery happened only through the automatic intervention of software, known as the “alpha floor”.
Reports suggested that the flight crew – heading for Brussels, Belgium, to collect SA’s first vaccine shipment – had forgotten to take into account a glitch in the plane’s systems, which resulted in a weight and control mismatch… which could have caused a stall and then a crash.
ALSO READ: Report on SAA plane stalling just after takeoff, will never be open to public
Yet Sacaa deemed the incident not serious enough for a probe by its Air Accident and Incident Investigation Division – while it has made public multiple reports from this year of incidents with apparently much less potential for tragedy.
SAA, unsurprisingly, is saying nothing.
Air safety is one area where transparency is of the utmost importance and this attitude, by both Sacaa and SAA, flies in the face of that basic requirement.