The Chinook Controversy: Crowded Airport: Lame Excuse

Nepal's PM: Ban On RAF Chinooks Is Not Politics
The Prime Minister tells Sky News the UK's heavy lift helicopters were refused permission to land because the airport is crowded..... Nepal's Prime Minister has added confusion to the debacle over permission for British Chinook helicopters to fly in Nepal. ...... In a somewhat confused answer, he said that the airport was crowded and that Nepal's terrain was difficult, suggesting that would cause problems for the Chinooks. ..... "We have had a very good discussion with the British Prime Minister only yesterday, so I have told him, 'You know, you have visited our airport, how crowded it is.' Not only that - we have one runway and it's so crowded and I told him that and not only that: the engineers, the capacity, the load capacity, 190 tonnes - the heavier choppers. It has become very difficult," he said...... "Our terrain is so difficult, you know... So I have explained everything to [David Cameron] and it is closed now."........ Prior to this comment, the Nepalese government had said it did not want the Chinooks to take part in the earthquake recovery because of concerns that the huge downdraft from their twin rotors would damage land and housing........ This concern was dismissed by the British military...... the helicopters would not need to land on the airport's surfaced area. They could operate from the ample open grass space around it. ...... The cost of flying them to the region, keeping them on the ground in India as well as accommodating the thirty to forty crew and maintenance teams has been met by the UK. ...... Chinooks are the workhorse of the Royal Air Force and have frequently been used for humanitarian relief operations....... They can carry a load of about 10 tonnes. They are designed to carry 55 soldiers but for evacuation purposes they can carry up to 70 people........

Their load capacity and their manoeuvrability are ideal for the challenges facing the people of Nepal. Many communities remain stranded and aid agencies have repeatedly complained of a lack of helicopters. Small civilian helicopters owned by local tour firms are currently carrying out a significant number of the recovery missions and are flying dangerously overloaded.

That Little Chinook Detail
The Foreign Minister Confirms My Chinook Suspicion
Bring In The Chinooks

I am not harping on the Chinook because I know a ton about the machine. I don't. I know little, much of it I learned this past week. But for me this is the tip of the iceberg. The dysfunctional Nepal Government that was in place in Nepal, if it does not fundamentally mend its ways, is going to mess up the relief and reconstruction work. The same old, same old will not work. But there's every sign they are hellbent on keeping with the same old, same old.

The Chinook could land anywhere in Nepal, airport, no airport, does not matter. It might just be the perfect air vehicle at this point in time for Nepal's relief work as it battles the onset of monsoon. There are tents and supplies that need to reach remote villages. There is no other way to get it done. If the Chinook can land anywhere in Nepal, it does not need to land at the Kathmandu airport. So crowded airport is a really lame excuse.


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