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'No helicopters booked by EC'
Published on: Saturday, February 24, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Layang-Layang Helicopter Academy (LLHA) on Friday clarified claims that 10 of its helicopters were booked by the Election Commission (EC) for use in the coming 14th General Election (GE14).

Its Director Eric Lee said he doesn't want people to have the wrong perception of the academy supposedly using its training helicopters for commercial purposes.

He said flight academies are actually not allowed to do so as it might disrupt their students' training.

"An approval from the Ministry of Transport needs to be obtained when the need arises, but we will need to look into the matter," he said at the graduation ceremony of four Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) pilots, here.

Lee was responding to an online news report on Thursday which claimed that 10 of the academy's helicopters were booked by the EC for election purposes in April and May this year.

He said Layang-Layang Aerospace (LLA) – of which LLHA is a subsidiary – received a lot of inquiries on how many aircraft it can supply for the election, including from private companies, individuals and the EC.

"The EC inquired about how many aircraft LLA can support them for the election but they have not made any bookings yet, only inquiries," he added.

Lee said there is a possibility that LLA's aircraft might be used in the coming election, as they had previously deployed 27 helicopters in the 13th General Election for the delivery and collection of ballot boxes by the EC.

He added that several of the helicopters were leased from the peninsula to meet the demand here.

Meanwhile, four MMEA personnel became the first batch of qualified pilots after they completed their 20-month training at LLHA with flying colours.

The four are Lt Dya Syahril Annuar Othman (30), Lt Dya Mohd Akil Md Yussof (30), Lt Muda Muhammad Amirul Abdul Mutalib (31) and Lt Muda Muhammad Khairul Anwar Farizul (29).

It is learnt that their training comprised four phases, including an exam which had a passing rate of 75 per cent.

The four had scored an average of 80 to 90.

Other tests include the aptitude test, where 55 people took part but only 25 passed. Following this was a medical test, where only 15 passed.

The 15 were then interviewed by the board of directors, in which only the four were selected to train at the helicopter academy. They trained using the AS355F2 and Bell 206 Jet Ranger III helicopters as well as the Lessna 172 single-engine airplane.

After their graduation, the pilots will carry out various operations, including search and rescue, Medivac, surveillance and VIP transportation. - Jegathisan Sivanesan

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