The commander of the 28th Air Detachment, in charge of flying Bulgaria’s state and government officials, has suggested that it is time to think about buying a new aircraft after the government Falcon jet carrying Prime Minister Boiko Borissov had to make a manual landing at Sofia Airport following the failure of its navigation system.
The landing, amid fog and turbulence on the morning of November 15, was made at the second attempt.
General Todor Kodzheiykov, the 28th Air Detachment’s officer commanding, said that on approach to Sofia Airport from Thessaloniki, the flight crew had seen that the navigation system had failed, and pulled up to regain altitude.
Knowing the terrain well, the crew relied on visual sightings “and other equipment” to bring the Dassault Falcon 2000 in to land. No one was injured.
Kodzheiyjov praised the crew’s professionalism and the fact that they had retained their composure in a high-risk situation.
He said that this was the latest of four or five incidents with the aircraft in the past few years while it was carrying state leaders. The Falcon is used by the President, Prime Minister and other government officials. The November 15 incident is not the first in which Borissov was on board when the aircraft malfunctioned.
After one of the incidents in recent years, Borissov told reporters that he had remained calm because he believed that Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev would make a good head of government.
The aircraft is being temporarily withdrawn from service pending an investigation into why its navigation system failed. The aircraft either will be fixed in Switzerland or in Bulgaria.
The Falcon has been in service as part of the Bulgarian state air wing for about 19 years.
According to flight tracker information, it was delivered to Bulgaria on Friday April 13 2001.
(Main photo, of Borissov arriving in Thessaloniki on November 14: Bulgarian government information service)