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Commission of Inquiry acquires expert testimony from former US-based Guyanese pilot

The Commission of Inquiry into the illegal twin-engine Cessna plane that was found in southern Guyana last month has tapped into the expertise of Guyanese aviator Michael Brassington.

He said he was summoned by Inquiry Commissioner, Retired Brigadier Edward Collins to appear under oath at the probe in Lethem, Rupununi.

“I was summoned. I was more or less ordered to appear  in Lethem here to appear before the Commissioner and based on my aviation experience and history as Captain on multiple jets  and my travels around the world they proceeded to show me some pictures and ask me questions,” Brassington, who was convicted in the United States in connection with a plane crash in New Jersey 11 years ago, told Demerara Waves Online News.

Brassington said during his estimated one hour long appearance under oath, he was asked about the type of aircraft.

He said he was not required to submit memorandum before, but was placed on the stand and asked questions.

President David Granger has ordered Collins to investigate a number of aspects related to the arrival and presence of the Cessna plane in Guyana, and whether there was a lapse in the coordination and sharing of information and intelligence among the relevant law enforcement agencies. Authorities have so far found out that the United States registration number on the plane is fake.

Brassington, a former President and Chief Pilot of  luxury charter company Platinum Jet Management LLC,  was sentenced to two years  in 2011  after he was convicted of the charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight related the concealment of dangerous over-fueling and weight distribution practices that caused the jet’s centre of gravity to exceed its forward weight limit for takeoff, contributing to the Feb. 2, 2005, crash at New Jersey’s Teterbero Airport runway, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The Bombardier Challenger 600 jet  ploughed through a perimeter fence, across several lanes and into warehouse where it exploded, injuring several persons.