...While Other Areas Catch Up

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While U.S. officials celebrated an improving safety record, a couple of Aero Kenya pilots were actively contributing to improving their country's stats. Capt. Kai Tinga and First Officer Mary Mukulu performed two emergency landings (one as a reaction to an onboard fire) in less than two weeks, but we won't likely get to hear about their second adventure unless they quit the airline. "You just want to blow this issue out of proportion," the Nairobi Standard quoted an unnamed airline official as saying, after the pilots were told not to comment. The pilots were flying Czech-built Let L-410 turboprops when they ran into problems. After the first incident (and before the airline had considered the advisability of adrenaline-charged pilots talking to the media) Capt. Tinga told the Standard that an engine caught fire while the aircraft cruised at 12,000 feet on a flight from Nairobi to Eldoret. The plane was still burning when they got it on the ground at Kabarak. Last Thursday, a cargo door blew off the plane and hit a prop five minutes after leaving Eldoret for Nairobi. Tinga and Mukulu shut down the affected engine and returned to Eldoret. They were nowhere to be found when the cameras got there and the passengers were having tea, far away from prying eyes...