What may have caused the fatal death of Prof Saitoti Hon. Ojodeh and the other four? By Clifford Derrick.
Well, whereas as one can not rule out mischief and sabotage, sources from the aviation experts investigating the matter have so far gathered some interesting findings. Fundamentally, they suggest a mechanical failure on the rotar (rear propeller).
A chopper has two propellers, the big one for upward thrust and forward movement, and the rear one for stability. The two propellers move clockwise and anti clockwise respectively and a chopper’s stability depends on a coordinated rotational movement of these propellers.
For that matter, anything that affects the rear propeller- the rotar’s motion sends the chopper into a spin, and the pilot has only one option which is to abruptly shut the main propeller’s motion. This activity, may bring the craft down crashing, and may be fatal if the chopper is loaded with fuel.
One would expect that the ill fatted chopper had considerable fuel owing to the fact that it had enough for a return flight and had hardly flown for more than 10 minutes. It will be interesting to find out from the investigators how many liters of fuel was in the craft at the time of crashing.
But most crucially, the investigators should be more concerned with the some leads that may help understand the build up to the mechanical failure and if indeed these build ups were engineered or known but ignored with ill intention.
It is understood that the chopper had had some mechanical problems last week and in fact failed to start on Friday. If this is established, was the chopper serviced between Friday and Sunday, tested and cleared for the next assignment? If not, then why the same chopper was assigned this duty without such important routines?
Another crucial lead is the fact that Captain Kuto who was earlier assigned to pilot the chopper did not and instead asked for Gituanja to stand in for him. What contributed to his change of mind, plans, routine? All these could hold a clue to what really happened.
Lastly, a reliable source from Ngong has informed me that occupants of the ill-fated chopper actually had an emergency stopover in a Maasai homestead, disembarked from the craft, went around it as if to inspect it for a few minutes before boarding it again. Less than three minutes after sluggish take off, the machine begun emitting smoke, swaggered before it came down tumbling.
What does all these tell us about the chopper and the occupants?