The Air Force has allowed its OV-10 Bronco bombers to fly again despite pending investigation into the crash of one of the planes in Zamboanga City earlier this month.

Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena approved a recommendation that the OV-10 fleet be allowed to fly again, his spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said Monday.

Brigadier Gen. Rene Samonte, head of the PAF 15th Strike Wing which oversees the board probing the crash, recommended that the grounding be lifted since the systems of OV-10s passed a “special inspection,” Okol said.

“The remaining aircraft of the fleet passed all airworthiness parameters and are safe to operate again,” said the Air Force spokesman.

The cause of the crash, however, is still to be known as the investigation has not yet concluded, he said.

“Investigations are still going on and I cannot discuss it further, but the remaining aircraft may be flown already since their airworthiness have been certified,” Okol said.

Rabena grounded the Air Force’s 12 OV-10 planes on November 9, hours after OV-10 No. 801 crash-landed at the Edwin Andrews Air Base, leaving two pilots injured.

OV-10s, considered among the military’s “high value” assets, were used to drop bombs on the lair of “lawless elements” and Abu Sayyaf members in Zamboanga Sibugay and Sulu before ground troops charged in.

They were also used to respond to a distress call by an oil exploration vessel harrassed by foreign ships in the West Philippine Sea. (John Roson)

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