Military chopper crushes ; understanding the 3 flying military offences

Military chopper crushes ; understanding the 3 flying military offences

 

Following the sudden tragic death of General Francis Ogolla, the Chief of Defense Forces in a military helicopter crash on April 18, 2024, the worthiness of military choppers continues to be subject to debate.

Over the past few months, there have been multiple reports of military helicopter crashes occurring on various dates.

These incidents include one on November 20, 2023, in Buna, Wajir North; and another in November 2023, when a helicopter crashed in Kisamis, Kajiado West.

Then there was a power cable strike accident involving a military helicopter on November 9, 2023; a chopper crash in West Pokot in July 2023; and another crash in June 2021 in Kajiado, resulting in the loss of 10 Kenya Defense Forces soldiers’ lives.

The causes of these accidents are not always announced to the public but this has not stopped many from speculating – including the political class – as seen in the death of CDF Ogolla.

As safety, maintenance and standard operating procedural issues related to military aviation continue to be a hot topic in the wake of CDF Ogolla’s burial, Nairobi News now looks into what the Kenya Defense Forces terms as flying offences and what consequences await pilots and officers found to be involved in these offences.

Dangerous flying

According to the Kenya Defense Forces Act 2012, any person subject to this Act found to either willfully or by negligence, do any act or make any omission in flying an aircraft of the Defense Forces, or in the use of any such aircraft, or in relation to any such aircraft or to aircraft material, which causes or is likely to cause loss of life or bodily injury to any person “commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction by a court-martial, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, if the person has not acted willfully or with willful neglect; or life or any lesser punishment provided for by this Act, in any other case.”

Low flying

The KDF Act states that if any pilot subject to it is found flying at a height less than that prescribed- unless they are taking off or landing; or under special circumstances- they will be found to have committed an offence and shall be held liable.

Upon conviction by a court-martial, they would be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years or any lesser punishment provided for by the KDF Act.

Annoyance by flying

The third flying offence outlined by the KDF Act 2012 is annoyance by flying in which a pilot flies an aircraft with the purpose of causing unnecessary annoyance.

“Any person commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction
by a court-martial, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or any lesser punishment provided for by this Act,” states the KDF Act.

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