Budapest, July 1 (MTI) – The outcome of investigations into the recent military aircraft accidents is expected by the autumn, Chief of General Staff Tibor Benko told parliament’s national security committee on Wednesday.
In May, a Hungarian Gripen overran the runway at Caslav military airbase in the Czech Republic, while in June a highly experienced pilot of a Gripen fighter carried out an emergency landing before ejecting at the Kecskemet airbase. Last week, a Soviet-made Yak-52 training aircraft caught fire and crash landed.
Benko specifically asked for the committee’s session to be open to the press and asked reporters and members of the committee to wait for the results of the investigation to be published so that the Hungarian air force can continue to fulfil its duties without disruption.
Regarding the accident in the Czech Republic, Benko said the investigation is being carried out by Czech, Swedish and Hungarian experts. He said the objective will be to uncover whether the accident was caused by mechanical failure, human error or other factors. The outcome of the probe is expected by October.
Addressing the second accident, he recalled that soon after taking off from the airbase, the pilot reported that he was unable to withdraw the front landing gear despite repeated attempts. While landing the aircraft, he ejected as the Gripen became uncontrollable. The pilot has since left the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, Benko said.
Benko also gave an account of last week’s accident involving the Yak-52 aircraft, saying the jet caught fire towards the end of a training exercise. The pilots made an emergency landing and managed to leave the aircraft but one of them suffered severe burns, the chief of staff noted. The pilot is still being treated in hospital and has started to undergo skin grafts, Benko said.