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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Katowice. LPR helicopter grounded at the airport. The pilot was supposed to perform dangerous maneuvers

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The Katowice-Muchowiec airport was closed to air traffic when a mass event took place there last weekend. This grounded the Air Ambulance crew. Now the event organizers explain that the machine was moving in a way that was dangerous to the health and life of the gathered people. Despite the airspace being closed, the pilot started the helicopter and took off.

The airport was closed on Saturday afternoon. At that time, a rally of American car enthusiasts was taking place there. Earlier, an LPR helicopter stationed there took off from the airport and its crew helped the injured cyclist. But she couldn't return to the base.

– Yesterday around At 16, a call was received for a rescue flight to Szczyrk. The idea was to help a cyclist with a spine injury. The crew transported him to the hospital in Katowice on Ligota, but during the operation they learned that he could not return to his base. Because the manager of the Katowice-Muchowiec airport, where the LPR helicopter is stationed, decided to exclude it from air operations – said Justyna Sochacka, spokeswoman for LPR, on Sunday.

– There was already information about the flight ban. However, the ban did not apply to rescue flights. Sometimes such situations also occur at other airports, but usually the bans do not apply to rescue flights. In this case it is different. The situation is certainly unusual, the spokeswoman noted. As the helicopter could not return to the base, it was parked at the hospital landing pad in Ligota.

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When asked if the manager justified his decision in any way, she said that there was only short information about the ban. – We are only a user of the airport. We cannot violate the manager's prohibitions, the spokeswoman emphasized.

The ban sparked outrage among Internet users. The airport manager and the organizer of the event on Sunday did not want to comment on the situation. But now that has changed.

As TVN24 reporter Jerzy Korczyński found out, according to the event organizers, the helicopter pilot deliberately retracted the machine too far during take-off, which led to the destruction of food stands. – Fryers and grilling equipment were overturned and two people suffered burns. According to the organizer's representative, since Friday there were problems with the pilot, who took off and landed in such a way that it made it very difficult to ensure the safety of all those who participated in this automotive event – said Korczyński.

Overturned stands, broken umbrellas

– As the organizers of the event, we noticed that there was a threat to the life and health of our viewers. We reported to the airport director that the pilot was flying over the catering stands, overturning and breaking umbrellas, and even a stand selling French fries and hot oil fell on two people. At this point, the airport director made the only right decision to temporarily close the airspace above the airport – says Adam Rostalski, vice-president of the American Cars Mania foundation.

His words are confirmed by Michał Tomanek, president of the Silesian Aero Club. – The previous day, on Friday evening, the first incidents with this pilot occurred. On Saturday before 12 p.m. there was another incident, based on which the organizers reported to us a threat to the participants' safety. We then sent a letter to the manager asking to close the airport. The airport was closed at 4:30 p.m., and the pilot's last takeoff, the one that caused the most damage, took place after 5:40 p.m., Tomanek reports. He added that the airport was closed at that time.

“The information about the airport closure was a surprise to us”

The TVN24 editorial team asked the LPR spokeswoman for a comment on this situation. – She claims, among other things, that the take-off recorded by the organizer was performed correctly because, for safety reasons, the helicopter should move back a little during each take-off – says Korczyński.

The spokeswoman also referred to the information that the pilot took off after the airport was closed. – The airspace above the Katowice-Muchowiec airport has been closed. Initially, this exclusion did not apply to Air Ambulance aircraft. However, on Saturday afternoon, the airport manager decided to close the airport also to our helicopters. The information about the closure of this airport was a surprise to us – I must admit that the crew did not have time to learn about it and accepted the call for a rescue mission. We, of course, reported this fact to the Civil Aviation Office, but we regret that the airport manager, when issuing a statement regarding only our crews, did not contact us and did not inform us about this fact – said Justyna Sochacka, spokeswoman for LPR.

The director of LPR decided to appoint a special commission to explain the circumstances of this situation.

Main photo source: American Cars Mania



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