A Philippine Air Force (PAF) surveillance aircraft made an emergency landing in Cebu on Wednesday, Oct. 4, after encountering an engine problem.
A PAF Cessna 208B EX Grand Caravan experienced an engine fire shortly after take off around 2:15 a.m. at Mactan Cebu International Airport, prompting the pilots to perform an immediate emergency landing, according to PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo.
The aircraft was deployed for a “confidential mission” in Visayas when one of its engines caught fire while flying at 2,000 feet above the ground.
“The engine problem resulted to extreme difficulty in maneuvering the aircraft but in spite of this, the pilots were able to land the aircraft with all five aircrew onboard well and safe,” Castillo said.
“The aircraft is undergoing a thorough inspection. We are hoping for the best that the damage is not that severe. We are just happy and thankful that all aircrew are safe,” she added.
Castillo said the ill-fated Cessna aircraft was not the same asset that was donated by the United States government to the PAF last Sept. 19.
She said the aircraft was received by the PAF as one of the two donated assets by the US in 2017 when the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was battling terrorists and local militant groups that laid siege in Marawi City.
However, it was the same type of aircraft that was used by PAF for its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Due to the incident, the PAF was left with two operational Cessna 208B (C-208B) Grand Caravan aircraft for its ISR missions.
Castillo said the PAF launched an investigation to determine what caused the engine fire.
“The aircraft was intact and only the engine caught fire. In cases like engine fire, the aircraft could still glide but this time, our pilots does not have enough altitude so it was really fortunate that they still managed to maneuver the aircraft back to Mactan,” Castillo said.
“Rest assured that the PAF is committed to ensuring the utmost safety of our air operations while continuously supporting the country’s security and development efforts,” she noted.