Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) plans on dispatching experts to the production areas of the alleged aeronautical products. This pertain the recently announcement made on local production of helicopter.
On Monday evening, the aviation industry regulatory body directed the aircraft manufacturers, currently in the process of testing their aircraft to suspend their activities as they are operating contrary to Aviation Regulations and Safety Implementing Standards,
TCAA Director General Hamza Johari said yesterday that the team of experts is scheduled to leave next week for regions where individuals and firms claim to have developed capacity to manufacture aircrafts.
“They should understand that not any type of materials can make aircraft, lest they cause tragedy,” Mr Johari cautioned.
In its public notice, TCAA reminded organisations and persons seeking to manufacture aeronautical products must comply with Civil Aviation Regulations and obtain prior approval from TCAA Director General before undertaking any production operations.
The regulator said Regulation 5 of the Civil Aviation (Airworthiness) Regulation, 2011 specifies that “the authority shall only accept application for production of aircraft or aircraft component if it is satisfied and the work to be undertaken conforms to specified design as approved by the State of Design.”
The notice said the country currently lacks the capacity to effectively oversee the design, manufacture or production of aeronautical products.
However, TCAA can through cooperation with foreign Civil Aviation Authorities — European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) — ensure that before the product is introduced in public, all the design processes, materials and applicable tests have been conducted to assure the suitability of the product.
The media were recently awash with reports that Arusha Technical College (ATC) has started building helicopters in a project that will see the first batch of the choppers taking into the sky sometimes in 2018.
The college stated that already, the prototype model, a two-seater aircraft is in its final stages of completion at its Mechanical and Engineering Department, which runs a fully-fledged factory, producing various forms of machinery, including a prototype motor vehicle and industrial engines. The man behind the ATC chopper project, Engineer Abdi Mjema, said the first locally made helicopters would be available to citizens at affordable prices.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Ms Maimuna Tarishi, who toured the project recently was seemingly thrilled by the development, curiously seeking to know when exactly the chopper would hit the skies.
The helicopter is currently 50 per cent complete and features the popular gasoline-powered VW flat engine on board. The news of ATC-manufactured chopper spread quickly, with foreign newspapers like the Observer of Zambia and Concord of Cameron, carrying the story.
However, ATC maintained yesterday that its helicopter project will follow all official procedures to become a serious undertaking. The college’s Communications Officer, Mr Gasto Leseiyo, admitted that the public polytechnic’s management had received TCAA notice on the matter.
“ATC is a government institution and in our chopper project w e work closely with state organs,” he said, hinting that TCAA is one of the government institutions that the college will work closely with to realise the dream.
ATC Rector Richard Masika said that the Helicopter Project is now involving the technical expertise of the Retired Army officer, Engineer Brigadier General Stephen Makala Ndazi and that the maiden chopper has now been fitted with even more advanced engine. ATC plans to transform helicopter manufacturing into the serious future undertaking for the college and country in general.
Mr Leseiyo said the management was working on official write-ups on their maiden helicopter prototype to deliver to TCAA as well as other government departments and security organs. “Of course, we cannot fly our aircraft without the TCAA permission,” he affirmed.