On 19th November, 2019, at about 08:45 h, a Cessna 172 aircraft with nationality and registration marks 5N-APE operated by Sky power Express Airways (SEA) Nigeria Limited, departed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA) for Bida; Niger state on a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight plan with two (2) persons on board (the Pilot and an equipment operator) and fuel endurance of six hours. The intended flight was meant for a Georadiometric Aerial Survey around Bida area.
After departure, the aircraft climbed out normally to an altitude of 6500 ft above mean sea level in coordination with Abuja Control (ACC). During the climb, after take-off and climb check lists were accomplished respectively, while engine parameters were monitored all in the green.
According to the pilot, at about 08:15 h, ACC transferred 5N-APE to Minna Tower. Thereafter, 5N-APE established contact with Minna Tower and subsequently proceeded to Bida area for the Georadiometric Aerial Survey.
At about 09:40 h, the aircraft descended to about 400 ft and commenced the Georadiometric Aerial Survey. The pilot stated that the operation was normal until about 10:54 h, when a drop in engine revolution per minute (r.p.m) accompanied by change in engine sound were noticed. The pilot added that, about three seconds later engine oil splashed on the windshield. At that time, he also observed oil pressure indication was decreasing while oil temperature indication was rising. According to him, he immediately reduced the engine r.p.m. setting and attempted to climb to higher altitude for diversion to Bida airstrip.
The pilot added that, as he observed the engine r.p.m. continued to drop, he shuts down the engine and executed a forced landing. In the process of touching down, the aircraft hit and felled a tree before it impacts the ground on all its three wheels, at the same time. As a result of the impact, the tail section of the aircraft was substantially damaged.
The pilot also stated that “I instantly realized that I do not have luxury of altitude which is equal time. So, based on my training and recall checklist, the best practice in Aviation during an emergency is first to AVIATE, NAVIGATE and then COMMUNICATE if time permitting”.
The two occupants disembarked the aircraft unassisted and uninjured.
The incident occurred at about 12:10 h, in day time; visual meteorological conditions prevailed.