News broke late yesterday of yet another crash of an aircraft associated with the Ugandan military, when it became known that a plane taking off from Arua, reportedly under charter to the military or related outfits, crashed shortly after takeoff, thankfully without loss of life.
The aircraft burned to ashes, as did property on the ground where the illfated plane hit.
Only weeks ago did a military jet belly land at Entebbe International Airport, causing several flights to be diverted to Nairobi, to allow for the debris on the runway to be cleared, but with major accidents of aircraft associated with or chartered by the military, questions are now being raised by the aviation fraternity over the regulatory oversight of safety on such flight operations.
This latest crash, according to emerging media reports in Kampala, was enroute to re-supply troops based in the Congo DR where they are hunting for the remnants of the LRA and in particular their leader Joseph Kony, but from eye witness reports the aircraft failed to gain altitude, either through a technical fault or overloading, as was immediately suspected. The aged Antonov aircraft is part of a group of Soviet era planes which have a terrible safety record, due to lack of proper maintenance and often lack of crew training, and are now banned from flying in most countries commercially, but apparently not in Uganda when operating for the military. Time to finally ban these birds from all skies and condemn them to the scrap heap of aviation history lest they turn into more flying coffins as they have often been termed.