Mohd Irfan posing in front of a red livery G2CA helicopter. – NSTP/ courtesy of Lt Col Muhammad Haris Asmuni KUALA LUMPUR: The late Mohd Irfan Fikri Mohamed Rawi, who perished in a helicopter crash last Sunday, was an […]
KUALA LUMPUR: The late Mohd Irfan Fikri Mohamed Rawi, who perished in a helicopter crash last Sunday, was an expert in remote sensing and geospatial technology.
The Armed Forces' Defence Intelligence Staff Division director-general Lieutenant-General Datuk Ahmad Norihan Jalal said Irfan was, in fact, a sought-after expert in the defence and security field among local aviation, aerospace and information-communications technology industries.
"He helped many a local industry and government agency improve their know-how and expertise in the remote sensing and geospatial technological fields, especially involving drones and unmanned aerial vehicle systems for aerial surveillance, mapping and geographical data.
"I found him to be extra-courteous in educating fellow Malaysians to gain better knowledge… in an ever-changing and rapidly developing world of smart and innovative technology.
"My team of officers and I found him very helpful in imparting his experience and knowledge to us," said Norihan, who first met Irfan 10 years ago when he was assisting his division in several remote sensing programmes.
Irfan, 44, was the managing director of IR Technic Sdn Bhd, a company he had established in the last decade after earlier gaining exposure as a manager with Sapura Defence Sdn Bhd for four years from 2004.
He graduated from University Teknologi Malaysia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Remote Sensing in 2001 after a five-year programme.
Irfan, the fourth child of 10 siblings, is survived by his teacher wife and five children, aged between 3 and 15.
He died after the two-seat G2CA blue livery helicopter, piloted by Commander (Rtd) Mohamed Sabri Baharom, 56, crashed in Taman Melawati last Sunday.
Datuk Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, 66, and Tan Chai Eian, 51, who were in the second red livery helicopter (9M-HCA) that made an emergency landing shortly after the incident, survived.
The two helicopters of My Heli Club reportedly grazed each other mid-air, resulting in the helicopter piloted by Sabri, the club's chief flying instructor, plummeting to the ground near SJK (T) Taman Melawati.
Club president Ahmad Jauhari managed to steer his helicopter to land safely a short distance away.
Both helicopters had left the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang at 11.11am, en route to Genting Sempah. The accident occurred 22 minutes later at a height of 1,300ft (396m).
Meanwhile, Norihan's division's senior staff officer Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Haris Asmuni said Irfan was known to be a humble man among the local aero-modelling and radio-control aircraft community.
"He was a devoted husband and father to five lovely children whom we all admired.
"Irfan initially pursued land survey studies before moving on to remote sensing at UTM.
"It nurtured him as a geospatial expert and ultimately enriched his technical knowledge in developing geospatial systems that have been used in the Malaysian Armed Forces," said Haris.
Haris said that he forged a close working relationship with Irfan, who was engaged to develop a three-dimensional terrain simulator programme for military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications and training.
"His technical knowledge in drone and UAV systems was undoubtedly well-received and recognised in the industry.
"His interest and dedication in military equipment and systems made him well-known among defence and security circles."
Irfan's remains were laid to rest at the Muslim cemetery in USJ 22, Subang Jaya, while those of Sabri's at the Raudhatul Sakinah Muslim cemetery at Jalan Batu Muda, Batu Caves in Gombak, both yesterday.