The Jakarta Post
Before crashing into a residential area in Kampar regency, Riau, on Monday morning, the pilot of an ill-fated Indonesian Air Force Hawk 209 jet fighter reported irregularities in the engine to the base, the Air Force has said.
Air Force chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo said the pilot, First Lt. Aprianto Ismail, heard a strange noise on the plane, followed by a warning light showing an interruption in the aircraft.
Aprianto’s plane was one of three Hawk jets departing from Rusmin Nuryadin Air Base in Pekanbaru to perform combat training in Siabu, Kampar district.
Fadjar said the practice went well before the three fighter planes started to head back to the home base at around 8 a.m.
The three fighter planes flew in sequence and Aprianto's aircraft was the last.
“When the plane was about to land, around 2 kilometers from the the runway at an altitude of about 200 feet, the pilot reported an abnormality in the aircraft’s engine,” Fadjar said at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base in Pekanbaru, Riau on Monday afternoon, as quoted by kompas.com.
The pilot also said the aircraft engine suddenly lost power and reported his plan to eject, which he eventually did.
The plane then crashed into two vacant houses in the Mutiara Sialang Indah complex in Kubang Jaya village, Siak Hulu subdistrict, and caused a fire.
Aprianto landed with his parachute about 500 meters away from the crash site, while his ejection seat fell onto a rooftop.
Residents immediately helped the pilot and, fortunately, there were no fatalities in the accident.
The Hawk 209, a British-built aircraft that had flown 3,100 hours, had been checked before being operated and was found to be in airworthy condition, according to Fadjar.
Fadjar said an investigation into the causes of the crash was ongoing and could take up to two weeks. (syk)