Briefer on President Ramon Magsaysay and the presidential planes

On March 16, 1957, President Ramon Magsaysay left Manila for Cebu City where he spoke at three educational institutions. Early the next day, at about 1 AM, he boarded the Presidential Plane “Mt. Pinatubo,” a new Douglas C-47. The plane had been newly purchased with less than 100 hours of logged flight. Approximately 15 minutes later, the plane crashed into Mt. Manunggal in Central Cebu Province killing the President and 24 others. Nestor Mata, a reporter for the Philippines Herald, was the lone survivor of the plane crash.

On April 27, 1957, the chief of the Philippine Constabulary, General Manuel F. Cabal, testified before a Senate committee that the crash had been caused by metal fatigue, which had broken a drive shaft that caused a power failure on board the plane shortly after takeoff. He added that while the plane was gaining altitude, the spindle drive shaft of the right engine carburetor had snapped.

Accident summary

Date March 17, 1957
Type Metal Fatigue
Site Mt. Manunggal – 22 miles Northwest of Cebu City
Passengers 21
Crew 5
Fatalities 25
Survivors 1 (Nestor Mata, reporter)
Aircraft Type Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Aircraft Name Mt. Pinatubo
Operator Philippine Air Force
Flight Origin Lahug Airport, Cebu City
Flight Destination Nichols Field, Pasay City



1.      President Ramon Magsaysay

2.      Secretary of Education Gregorio Hernandez, Jr.

3.      Former Senator Tomas Cabili

4.      Representative of Cebu Pedro Lopez

5.      Brig. General Benito Ebuen, Chief of the Philippine Air Force

6.      Appointments Secretary Ramos Camus

7.      Patricio Osmeña, Assistant Protocol Officer

8.      Jesus Paredes, Malacañang Technical Assistant

9.      Pablo Bautista, Liwayway Magazine staff writer

10. Lieutenant Leopoldo Regis, Presidential Aide

11. Major Felipe Nunag, Chief of Security

12. Antonio Tiangco, Security Officer

13. Eduardo Reyes, Security Officer

14. Felix Manuel, Malacañang Chief Photographer

15. Sergeant Regino Manuel, AFP movie cameraman

16. Lt. Colonel Alfredo Bustamante, Commander of the Philippine Veterans Legion

17. Cesar Rama, Cebu correspondent of the Philippine News Service

18.  Attorney Jesus Rama

19. Celestino Teves, Presidential Valet

20. Jose Sarcilla, Presidential masseur


1.      Major Florencio Pobre, Presidential Plane Pilot

2.      Captain Manuel Navea, Co-Pilot

3.      Technical Sergeant Alfonso Ibe, Chief of Plane Crew

4.      Sergeant Isidro Fernandez, Assistant Chief of Plane Crew

5.      Sergeant Raymundo Ruiz, Radio Operator


(1) The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Library and Memorabilia

(2) The New York Times (1957), Magsaysay Dead With 24 In Plane; Garcia Successor, From


The first President to fly in an aircraft during his terms was Manuel L. Quezon during his escape from the Philippines in 1942 (he and his family, officials of the Commonwealth government, including Vice-President Sergio Osmeña, flew from the Del Monte field in Bukidnon to Australia). The first President to use an aircraft on a regular basis was President Manuel Roxas. The first President to travel internationally by air in peacetime was President Elpidio Quirino. Philippine Airlines first flew its DC8 Jetliner in June 1962, during the administration of Diosdado Macapagal. President Marcos flew on a PAL DC8 on his first state visit to the United States on September 12, 1966.

Since 1980, the official presidential aircraft has been a Fokker F-28. Most other nations only use this type of aircraft for military use.


Model: Fokker F-28

Production Period:




Accidents / Crash:



Popularly known as F-28 “Fellowship,” the Presidential Fokker F-28 was manufactured by Fokker Aviation BV (now defunct) in The Netherlands. This model came out of the Fokker factory in 1979 and was bought by the Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP) for the use of President Marcos. It was delivered to the Philippines on September 1980, until its ownership was transferred from the CBP to the Office of the President (OP) on December 26, 1995. Finally, it was donated to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in May 2006.

As of March 11, 2011, its total flying time is 5,525 hrs. Its contemporaries are at 10,000 to more than 20,000 hrs. The plane’s last mandatory inspection was a “D” check. This is also known as a Heavy Maintenance visit (HMV). This was a very detailed inspection of the structure, which was done March 2009 in Indonesia. During the inspection in 2009, added works were done such as: the cabin interior was refurbished, seats were newly upholstered, airshow/flight entertainment was installed and the exterior repainted.

The plane is now 31 years old.


BELL 412

–          There are at present five Bell 412 presidential helicopters

–          All five Bell 412 helicopters were delivered from Bell helicopter Textron Company, USA

–          Two Bell 412 helicopter with tail nos. 1998 and 2000 were delivered on 23 March 1994

–          The other three Bell 412 helicopter with tail nos. 1898, 1986 and 1896 were delivered by the same company on 03 July 1996

–          These Bell 412s were funded by the Common Aviation Unit of the National Government of the Philippines composed of BSP, DBP, GSIS, LBP, PAGCOR and PNB.

On April 7, 2009, a Bell 412 presidential helicopter operated by the Philippine Air Force crashed due to poor visibility brought by bad weather. The eight fatalities in the incident were three Palace officials, three military personnel, and two pilots, all passengers of the Bell 412 presidential helicopter. The wreckage was found on a steep slope within the boundaries of Benguet and Ifugao. The chopper took off from Loakan Airport late Tuesday afternoon was supposed to go to Banaue town in Ifugao province as advance party for President Arroyo’s inspection.

Aside from Press Undersecretary Capadocia, aboard the aircraft were presidential military aide Brig. Gen. Carlos Clet, Undersecretary for Presidential Engagements and Appointments Malou Frostrom, Presidential Management Staff assistant director Perlita Bandayanon, Navy Petty Officer 1 Demy Reyno, and Perez. The pilots were identified as Major Rolando Sacatani and Captain Alvin Alegata.

S-70A Blackhawk HELICOPTER

–          The S-70A Blackhawk presidential helicopter was manufactured by Sikorsky

–          It was Delivered on 07 March 1984 from the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of the United States Army

–          It was given by the AFP to the Philippine Air Force for use of the Office of the President

–          Total flying time: 3400 hrs

President Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino III have used it.


(1) 250th Presidential Airlift Wing

(2) Source: GMANews.TV (2009), Bodies of fatalities in chopper crash all recovered – police, From—police

Air Accidents

Date Airline/Location Aircraft Type/Registration Fatalities: Total Passengers
12.23.1972 BraathensSkaugum, Norway Fokker F-28 FellowshipLN-SUY 40:45
01.01.1974 ItaviaTurin, Italy Fokker F-28 FellowshipI-TIDE 38:42
01.26.1974 Turkish AirlinesIzmir, Turkey Fokker F-28 FellowshipTC-JAO  


01.30.1975 Turkish AirlinesIstanbul, Turkey Fokker F-28 FellowshipTC-JAP 42:42
09.24.1975 Garuda IndonesiaPalembang, Indonesia Fokker F-28 FellowshipPK-GVC 26:61 + 1
03.02.1978 Nigeria AirwaysKano, Nigeria Fokker F-28 Fellowship5N-ANA 18:18
07.11.1979 Garuda IndonesiaMedan, Indonesia Fokker F-28 FellowshipPK-GVE 61:61
12.23.1979 Turkish AirlinesAnkara, Turkey Fokker F-28 FellowshipTC-JAT 41:45
03.20.1982 Garuda IndonesiaBranti, Indonesia Fokker F-28 FellowshipPK-GVK 26:28
11.28.1983 Nigeria AirwaysEnugu, Nigeria Fokker F-28 Fellowship5N-ANF 53:72
03.28.1985 SatenaFlorencia, Colombia Fokker F-28 FellowshipFAC-1140 46:46
10.25.1988 AeroperuJuliaca, Peru Fokker F-28 FellowshipOB-R-1020 12:69
03.10.1989 Air OntarioDryden, Ontario, Canada Fokker F-28 FellowshipC-FONF 24:69
11.25.1989 Korean Air LinesSeoul, S. Korea Fokker F-28 FellowshipHL7255 1:52
03.22.1992 USAirNew York, New York, USA (LaGuardia) Fokker F-28 FellowshipN485US 27:51
07.01.1993 Merpati Nusantara AirlinesSorong, Indonesia Fokker F-28 FellowshipPK-GFU 41:43
07.01.1994 Air MauritanieTidjika, Mauritania Fokker F-28 Fellowship5T-CLF 80:93
10.12.1994 Iran Asseman AirlinesNatanz, Iran Fokker F-28 FellowshipEP-PAV 66:66
12.22.1997 Biman BangladeshSylhet, Bangladesh Fokker F-28 FellowshipS2-ACJ 0:89
01.09.2003 TANSCerro Coloque, Peru Fokker F-28 FellowshipOB-1396 46:46
10.08.2004 Biman BangladeshSylhet, Bangladesh Fokker F-28 Fellowship 4000S2-ACH 0:83

Source: Air Accidents Database.