Malaysia’s civil aviation authority has suspended all flight operations by Blackshape BS 115 and BK 160 aircraft, following a grounding order by European safety regulators.

The suspension is effective from 20 March.

Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia says the decision “aligns” with that of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which took the precaution over the possibility that structural failure contributed to two fatal accidents.

“[We are] committed to prioritising aviation safety in Malaysia and will take all necessary actions to ensure the safe operation of flights,” says the authority.

Malaysian investigators are still probing a 13 February BK 160TR crash at Kampung Tok Muda, just west of Kuala Lumpur which neither the pilot or passenger survived.

While the inquiry suggests evidence of an in-flight break-up, its preliminary findings have turned up various air safety concerns including modification and maintenance of the aircraft.

I-POOC crash site-c-Malaysian transport ministry

Source: Malaysian transport ministry

Several aspects are being examined by the Malaysian inquiry into the BK 160TR crash

But the investigation is also exploring other avenues, among them whether the light aircraft – with a maximum take-off weight of 850kg – was overweight during its fatal flight.

Cockpit instruments had indicated possible high levels of carbon monoxide on occasion, and the pilot had fitted portable detectors. High levels of carbon monoxide apparently persisted even after work from a Blackshape service bulletin, to improve sealing of the forward cabin, was carried out in October last year.

While the ill-fated flight was short, says the inquiry, the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning will be considered once toxicology reports on the occupants are completed.

US regulators had issued proposed airworthiness criteria for the BK 160-200 variant in early January, after EASA had submitted an application for a special class type certificate on Blackshape’s behalf in 2020. These criteria became effective on 23 February.