SHILLONG, April 21 � The Indian Air Force today stamped an airworthiness certificate on Russian-made MI-17 helicopters, saying, these were competent machines.
In the backdrop of the tragic MI-17 chopper crash in Arunachal Pradesh Tuesday afternoon, Eastern Air Command Chief, KK Nohwar said, the MI-17 helicopters are efficient flying machines.
Terming two crashes in a span of five months in the Twang valley as a �coincidence,� Air Marshal Nohwar said, only a proper inquiry would unravel the reason behind the crash.
In Tuesday�s chopper crash in Tawang, seventeen people died when the Pawan Hans-operated helicopter burst into flames before landing. A two-member team from the civil aviation ministry is probing the crash.
Five months ago, eleven IAF men and an army officer were killed when an IAF Mi-17 helicopter crashed in Twang valley. A court of inquiry is on to ascertain the cause of this crash.
�Technical failure is quite rare, only a proper inquiry can find out the reason behind the crashes,� he said adding, India was in the process of procuring additional Mi-17s for its flight safety record. He moreover, said flying in the Twang valley is safe provide weather and nature is respected.
�Let�s not raise a bogey about Tawang valley. Weather and nature must be respected. We do not venture into areas of vulnerability,� the Air Marshal stated.
Meanwhile, Nohwar said, two more squadrons of Sukhoi-30 would be deployed in Tezpur and Chabua by next year. The IAF has already deployed a squadron each of Sukhoi-30 multi-role fighter jets in these two airbases of Northeast India last year.