LIMA – Some 68 percent of the 41 light planes operating from the Peruvian airfield at Nazca, where the aircraft took off that crashed earlier this week and took the lives of seven people including three Chilean tourists, have “technical problems,” the daily El Comercio said on Saturday.
Such problems as loose bolts and lack of calibration of some instruments and equipment were detected Friday by the team from Peru’s DGAC civil aviation authority, which went to the airfield to make an inspection, the daily said.
The investigation also determined that most of the aircraft are between 25 and 35 years old.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia on Friday called on Transport Minister Enrique Cornejo to promote regulations limiting the length of time aircraft used for civil flights may remain in service: “It’s not possible that a plane more than 20 years old is flying visitors and running this huge risk,” he said.
DGAC inspectors also found that the Transport Ministry requirement that every aircraft must have both a pilot and a copilot, which went into effect last Jan. 1, is generally ignored.
It was also discovered that the plane that crashed on Thursday, and which was carrying one passenger over the limit, had no black box, which makes it necessary to investigate the remains of the fuselage to determine whether mechanical failures caused the accident.
Three Chilean tourists as well as a Peruvian family of three and the Peruvian pilot died in the crash that occurred as they were on a flight to observe the archaeological site of the Nazca lines, immense drawings on the ground created by the civilization of the same name that existed between the 1st and 6th centuries A.D.
The Nazca geoglyphs cover an area measuring 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) on the arid plains of the southern province of Ica.
These lines are one of Peru’s main tourist attractions, and one out of every 10 foreigners who visit the country get on one of these light planes to view the lines from the air – the only way the drawings can be seen – which has made Nazca the second busiest airfield in the country after the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.