Nuri helicopters – is it right to risk lives of air force personnel if Defence Minister and VVIPs find them too dangerous to use?

is it right to risk lives of air force personnel if Defence Minister and VVIP find them too dangerous to use

The country grieves with the families of the six crew members of the S61-A4 Sikorsky Nuri helicopter who perished in a crash in Genting Sempah on Friday, which resulted in a massive five-day search operation involving about 1,600 search and rescue personnel.

The casualties were: Capt Nor Azlan Termuzi, 29, from Kuala Lumpur; co-pilot Capt Nor Intan Asykeen Mohd Arof, 27, from Butterworth; air quartermaster Flight Sergeant Khusnizam Ariffin, 34, from Kelantan; avionics technician Flight Sergeant Mohamad Azmie Md Yassin, 35, from Batu Berendam, Malacca; airframe technician Leading Aircraftsman Saifulizam Alias, 28, from Muar, Johor; and engine technician Leading Aircraftsman Muhammad Ridzuan Ahmad, 27, from Pokok Sena, Kedah.

The latest Nuri helicopter crash — the 17th in 40 years and claiming 72 lives – has again raised questions about the safety and airworthiness of the Nuri helicopters.

It is most heart-rending to read of the account of Hashidee Murshin Hassim, 29, a childhood friend of Captain Nor Azlan Termuzi, of how the pilot in the fatal crash had a “fear of flying Nuri”.

Azlan, who had been a pilot for 11 years, had been flying the Nuri on the Sungai Besi-Kuantan route for the past two years.

The New Straits Times in its report “Captain feared flying Nuri” quoted Hashidee as saying that Azlan had told him that “he would rather drive a truck to Kuantan, because he felt safer”.

According to the NST report:

For each flight, Hashidee said, Azlan would always rely on the assurances given to him by the helicopter technician.

“He was even thinking of quitting the force, but his contract with them was the only thing that stopped him as he would have to fork out RM49,000 for breaching it,” he said.

“Everytime he flew the Nuri he would call to tell me that he was taking off and upon reaching Kuantan, he would call me again.

“This time, he never called me back.”

It is a very serious reflection of the shocking state of morale in the air force when Nuri pilots are living in literal fear of flying the helicopter.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated yesterday that the Nuris were airworthy “workhorses” of the armed forces in transportation and operations.

However, when asked whether he had flown on the Nuri, Najib said he had done so earlier but now used a special VIP aircraft.

Can Najib produce the log of the number of times he had used the Nuri each year since he became Defence Minister in December 1999, and the number of times VVIPs had used the Nuri helicopters in recent years and their identities.

If the Defence Minister and VVIPs are steering clear of the Nuri, with Nuri pilots like Azlan living in fear of flying the helicopter, is it right to risk the lives of air force personnel in the continued use of Nuri helicopters?

  1. #1 by Toyol on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 2:14 pm

    Let BN leaders fly Nuri’s for a change….literally!

  2. #2 by Bobster on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 2:46 pm

    The way it goes good excuse for someone to draft out another new proposal for procurement of another half billion worth of new choppers from Russia with 100 million commission to so and so account. Hopefully no casualty cause by explosive and involvement of UTK this time.

  3. #3 by sotong on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 2:52 pm

    The government has a huge responsibility to ensure, after each flight, these officers return home safely to their families who rely on them for financial and emotional support.

    One is prepared to spend recklessly on anything but not prepare to spend on the safety and welbeing of the people serrving and protecting the country.

  4. #4 by Libra2 on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 2:59 pm

    Since Najib claims that the Nuri is safe and airworthy can we challenge him to take the Nuri from now now and discard his VIP craft.
    Or is it safe for the air force personnel and not for VIPs?

  5. #5 by Bobster on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 3:07 pm

    Does anyone notice the relevant between Altantuya’s case and the half billion military contract with Russia at the navy base where both Razaks involved? Altantuya’s father sue Malaysian gomen for $100 million, is that the comission paid to so and so?

  6. #6 by John F. Kennedy on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 3:11 pm

    When I was transported in the Nuri in 1988 or thereabouts, there was already talk that it was unreliable. I am quite surprised that we are still using the Nuri in the year 2007.

    Maybe, it was an Act of God. We have to ask Samy Vellu about that since he is the Malaysian expert on Acts of God and force majeure.

  7. #7 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 4:00 pm

    Our government which is run by UMNO is just full of shit and flying everywhere and if you get hit, just like the six who perished in the Nuri helicopter crash, it is your misfortune.
    Our country who has never seen real combat except for a short period during the Indonesian confrontation unfortunately has seen so many deaths in air crashes. Surprisingly as according to Najib he has conveniently blamed it on the weather even before any investigation, which means he has completely overrule incompetency or technical problems as this will reflect badly on him and the air force. How clever!!!. But sweeping everything under the carpet will only result more loss of lives to our young soldiers.
    We have already spent hundreds of millions purchasing submarine and sukhoi jets and sending someone to space. For the helicopters, probably they have not identified a company who is willing to sell them helicopters with heavy kickbacks. Until then our boys will have to face the danger.

  8. #8 by smeagroo on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 4:06 pm

    Dear All Military PErsonnels,

    If not bcos your ketua had so many “irregular” transactions, the quality of crafts wouldnt hv to be compromised. IMagine getting the best and latest crafts to handle instead of using old Nuris. But what to do. Each time u fellas see him u still tabik. For me? I will tabik too but not with all 5 fingers.

  9. #9 by Godfather on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 4:33 pm

    They are so busy structuring, collecting and then hiding the commissions that run into hundreds of millions, yet they won’t spend money properly maintaining the helicopter fleet. This is truly criminal, and you always wonder how these UMNO leaders can sleep soundly at night and after praying 5 times a day.

  10. #10 by Jonny on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 4:57 pm

    They will upgrade.

    Next there will be closed tender to procure high end helicopters and what nots. Election is near. If not use this opportunity, when else?

  11. #11 by raven77 on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 6:53 pm

    Poor soldiers…..their boss had them killed…….not an honourable death for a soldier……….

  12. #12 by negarawan on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 9:16 pm

    Najib has to be held responsible for all the unnecessary deaths and accidents involving the Nuri helis. He still has the nerve and ignorance to say that the Nuris are still usable when air force experts said repeatedly that they should have been retired fifteen years ago! May all the lost souls of Nuri crashes haunt him and his political career.

  13. #13 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 18 July 2007 - 10:16 pm

    “THE buck stops here” – Najib.

    “THE buck stops here” – Najib.

    “THE buck stops here” – Najib.

    The buck ….BN sucks!

  14. #14 by hkgan on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 12:14 am

    How many times have U heard of the helicopter crash? Cant we investigate like what we have watched in National Geographic “Aircrash investigation” Dont we have brains to further use this heli when hundreds already die….Incapable and spoon feed leaders are out

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 12:46 am

    “Maybe, it was an Act of God. We have to ask Samy Vellu about that since he is the Malaysian expert on Acts of God and force majeure.”

    “Not everything that happens is the result of my action,” says God who has been kept busy fighting the infidels in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has hijacked an F15 belonging to the infidels to return to Malaysia in time for the opening of the Islamic State.

    “I know Samy also blames me for his hair loss” God says. “I told him he should have taken better care of his hair during his youth – rubbing coconut oil is not the way to go!”

  16. #16 by schuey on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 8:21 am

    Great…..The our ministers must now be thinking of another purchase of military helicopter with big comission……..

  17. #17 by k1980 on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 8:37 am

    Which minister is dumb enough to set foot inside the Nuri/ Sikorsky S-61?
    Worlds biggest helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky refuses to admit that their helicopters migth have a fatal design error.

  18. #18 by DwarfSnakehead on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 9:16 am

    I can guess why the government didn’t want to ground the Nuri for good. Some VIP in the military must had awarded a huge maintenance contract for infinite years, to some dubious company to maintain the Nuris. This dodgy company probably source their parts from the secondhand junkyards in Russia or Afghan. Anybody can confirm this?

  19. #19 by Jimm on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 10:41 am

    One of the killed personal is a Datuk’s son. That’s why immediate action needed.
    You know lah, only when things hurts their own gang that will prompt for action.

  20. #20 by raven77 on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 11:15 am

    ITS THE MAINTENANCE CULTURE MANnnn….there isnt any……so get ready to hear Sukhoi’s crashing and submarines sinking off the coast of POrt Klang…..with Malaysia desperately asking China to fish them out……what do you expect….. they cant even fit a simple transmitter to the NURI when even cars these days come with navigators/locaters…………….its the (dumb) people we have…….not the machines……..

  21. #21 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 12:06 pm

    Yippeee!! Another big contract on the way!! Yippeeee!!

    Air Nuri – Nobody Dares to Fly.

  22. #22 by phizzy on Thursday, 19 July 2007 - 10:15 pm

    the vip aircraft najib use is the black hawk… wish we could ride on those… wishful thinking i must say

  23. #23 by OverseaMalaysian on Saturday, 21 July 2007 - 12:08 pm

    So as a Defence Minister, we urge Najib himself use Nuri. Because he is sleeping on his job, he expect people to risk their lives, and all he will do is to pray that nothing will happen. He got to pray for a lot things – Nuri won’t crash again, can’t find the photo, etc. Good luck Najib.

  24. #24 by AnakTiriMalaysia on Saturday, 21 July 2007 - 4:48 pm


  25. #25 by Anak_Permyjaya on Saturday, 21 July 2007 - 5:03 pm

    Now they’re risking their own people? Funny….

    The gaps is still there, no matter there is chinese or indian or not… wealth gaps still exist between malays….

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