Aircraft accidents investigation is the process of identifying with accident scenes and the post accident events that follow. The process is very important and may be sponsored by different stakeholders. These persons are directly or indirectly concerned with the investigation process. The reasons for this concern are diverse an especially depend on the effect the aircraft accident had on the, their friends and relatives.
Individuals- Individuals may have interest in the investigation process. This interest may be caused by the fact that the individuals lost close relatives or friends in the process. The friends or relatives may have survived the accident but were left with permanent scars or in critical condition. These individuals may call for immediate investigations to be launched so that they understand what exactly transpired and that resulted to the disastrous effects on the lives of their close friends and relatives.
The investigation may also be launched by airports and plane owners. The owners of the aircrafts may also launch investigations into the matter wanting to understand what exactly transpired. The effect on the owners is mainly in terms of capital investment. Majority of these owners feel they lost a lot in terms of investment. They may also want to know if the wreckage can be repaired after the accident. Answers to these questions can well be presented by a thorough investigation into the matter to ensure. The investigation will bring forth reports of the whole accident and as such will be of benefit to the owners.
Investigation may be launched by non-governmental organizations. These organizations perform independent roles and are registered organizations. The reason why they may be interested in the investigation is especially if they had some interest in that flight. An employee or senior officer within the organization may have suffered adverse effects out of the accident and as such, they organization may want to know the exact position. The organization may also have had other interests such as transportation of its goods to a different location.
Human rights groups may also be interested in the aircraft accident investigation. These groups fight for the rights of individuals. They could get concerned especially where there are links to the accident of assassination attempts. This is consistent with their commitment to ensure that the right to life is upheld by all individuals. They ask for reports pertaining to the accident. They want to understand how the accident happened, the reasons behind it occurring, the affected parties as well as any other information regarding the accident. They use this information to launch serious steps after they are convinced that human rights are violated.
The government may also be committed to launch investigations into the accidents. This is especially in the case where its citizens are affected. It is the principle role of government to protect the lives of its citizens. It is beyond reason that an aircraft accident escapes being investigated while it affects citizens of a given country. The government may ask for investigations so that it understands the real cause of the accident as well as any other follow up plans thereafter. Figures must be released of the exact number of casualties as well as deaths reported. This must be precise.
It is important that this is promptly done to ensure that among other reasons, the following is accomplished: Investigating an accident ensures that the casualties are well taken care of. This is because the process should take effect immediately after the accident has occurred. The accidents usually are in most cases very serious and any persons surviving it are left in critical condition. Some of them are put through the intensive care unit. The investigators looking into the matter see to it that proper medical attention is offered to the casualties so that they can survive the accident fate. Further, the medical experts are supposed to ensure that the health of these casualties goes back to normal so that they can revert to their errands. Some accidents are fatal and in such a case, the dead bodies must be well preserved and taken care of. In cases where identity is required for the bodies, the investigation will help friends and relatives to identify the bodies of their loved ones.
It is important that legal action be taken against any criminal cases. Some aircraft accidents are usually planned by some egoistic sly individuals who cannot stop until they have achieved their malicious intentions. These persons sometimes do this in a bid to eliminate their enemies who probably are passengers travelling in the aircrafts. The accidents end up costing the lives of other innocent passengers who know little about the conflict in question. Aircraft accidents therefore might have a lot behind the curtains. This needs to be brought to light so that culprits concerned can be arrested and charged with respective offences. Investigators are endowed with a lot of knowledge in the same and as such will eventually expose these criminals to face charges.
Investigations are also a basis of improvement. It is important that the accident reports be analyzed. The reports will depict the current position as pertains to the cause of accidents. This serves to reduce such cases in future since the root cause has been identified. Lack of a clear report however might not expose the real problem that occurred hence leading to a probable repeat of the same in future. If the cause of accident was probably a mechanical problem, it will be prudent if all aircrafts are scrutinized long before the flight occurs. This will reduce the rate of accidents significantly.
It is important that investigations are carried out so that the real cause is identified. It is difficult to establish this especially when the all the passengers in the flight as well as the attendants lose their lives. Investigators must thus take up the role to disclose to the public the problems that erupted causing the accident. A report should be released and sent to the public for them to know what exactly happened. The public is always eager to get to know this. The media fraternity are also always hungry for the information hence investigation is very valuable in this case.
The first most important factor is getting to find out the causative agent. This could probably be a mechanical fault or dangerous weather. Focusing on dangerous weather conditions, there could be fog and mist which tends to incapacitate the ability of the pilot to see ahead. The pilot might veer off the track of his supposed path making him to land on a block. The block could be a hill or tall mountain. The aftermath of this is a very serious accident which may result to deaths of passengers travelling. The phenomenon hazard here therefore is dangerous weather patterns.
Investigation is done in a number of ways. Some of these include reenactments. These refer to an activity in which investigators try to recreate aspects of the accidents prior to its occurrence. They try to figure out among other things the following: The departure of the flight. It is important that the departure of the flight be traced. This helps investigators to understand the time of departure and thus the approximate time the accident could have occurred. It also helps the investigators understand some of the problems the aircraft could have had as well as any minor or major repairs on the aircraft prior to flight. Departure further allows investigators to understand if proper procedures were followed and if the aircraft had been checked on. This seeks to get an understanding of if the plane was in proper mechanical condition. Improper mechanical conditions are one causation agent of aircraft accident hence should be analyzed in detail if success in the investigations is anything to go by.
The path or trace of the aircraft must also be analyzed by experts. This pertains to the direction the plane was following as well as its immediate destination. It is important that this is analyzed to enable investigators to understand if the pilot were on track or if they had lost direction in the course of flight. A pilot who loses track of his path may most likely bump on objects in his path resulting to accidents. These objects may include mountains and hills.
Another factor that has to be considered at this stage is the prevailing weather conditions at the time of the accident. This is very important because the weather may have been too unfavorable for flight resulting into the accident. If the weather was indeed friendly, it is significant that other issues be considered since weather would not take blame.
It is also important to perform eye witness investigation. This is the process of conduction interviews on eye witnesses to find out what exactly transpired. These people witnessed the crash occurrence and as such have very relevant traces of information. Eye witnesses also help the investigator to understand the underlying circumstances in the aircraft accident. Further, the eyewitnesses provide useful links on the chain of events prior to occurrence of the accident. This is an important part of investigation that must not be skipped all factors holding constant.
Interviews are also important and should be conducted by the investigators. This refers to the process of asking questions to the parties concerned. These include aviations experts. Aviation experts are specialists well versed with activities and occurrences in the aviation industry. These people are knowledgeable and will thus provide relevant information on the activities prior to occurrence of the accident; they as well can carry out their investigation on the wreckage to come up with useful information regarding the cause of the accident. This has proved very useful over the years whenever aircraft accidents are being investigated. (National Research Council (U.S.) 1995)
Retired pilots may also be interviewed. These people as well offer relevant information especially based on their own understanding and personal experiences in the field of aviation. They provide useful information on their understanding of the most probable cause of the accident. The pilots may also provide links to some of the most mechanical faults that may cause aircraft accidents.
It is also important to interview technicians as well as engineers. These people have the relevant training in design, repair of aircrafts, and therefore can provide useful information regarding the probable cause of the accidents (Cornelis, 2008)
The cock pit voice recordings must also be analyzed now. These recorders record the audio environment. This is particularly on the flight deck of an aircraft to investigate accidents. The signals of the pilot’s headsets and microphones are recorded by these gadgets. These gadgets are placed in a safe that is made from mechanically strong metals. A resulting accident will therefore not cause damage to the safe unless in very severe circumstances. The recorders can then be used to provide information on what the pilots were saying prior to the accident. This enables them to understand the exact flow of events prior to the accident.
The department of transport in any country is supposed to provide logistical support to support air accident investigation. It is important that the accident type be identified. This could a serious or non-serious type of accident.
One of the deadliest disasters in the world was the destruction of the World Trade Center. This happened in New York City on September 11th 2001. The accident had the prior intention of crashing two planes. These were the American Airlines Flight 11 and the United Airlines Flight 175. The accident resulted into deaths of 2752 people. These were occupants of the World Trade center doing various errands. 184 more people died when American Airlines 77 crashed into the pentagon.
The reasons behind these accidents were majorly planned and thus cannot entirely be termed as an accident. One of the most severe mishap accidents involved the Japan Airlines Flight in 1985. 520 people died on board. The plane was a Boeing 747. Investigation revealed that the plane had developed a mechanical problem due to an explosive decompression. This came from a repaired pressure bulkhead. It had been done incorrectly. The bulkhead failed in mid flight destroying its vertical stabilizer. The 747 became incontrollable. The pilots tried to keep the plane in the air for minutes. Unfortunately, it later landed on a mountain resulting in deaths for all passengers except four. These were rescued by the rescue team. (National Research Council (U.S.) 1995)
The shell model refers to a model of human factors that explains the scope of aviation human factors. It helps investigators to understand the underlying relationship between the aviation system resources and the human constituent in the aviation scheme. The human constituent in the aviation has to do with the human labor present. This may take the form of pilots, managers, investigators etcetera. These individuals must be researched on in depth to find out the exact happenings on ground prior to accident. It is important that research on the human factor is effectively carried out. This sees to it that the data findings are actually correct and not just a data estimate.
It is important that investigations into an aircraft accident be carried out as per the needs of various stakeholders. These accidents not only lead to damages such as loss of property but also lead to deaths to various individuals. Further, the accidents need to be used as an experience for prevention of such happenings in the future. The process is actually a rigorous one that not only calls for action from the government but also the various stakeholders with interest. It is advisable that the investigation process into aircraft accidents be carried out in a manner, most impartial. This shall get to the root of the problem and shall a great deal of good in getting a lasting solution. Aircraft accidents must become a thing of the past since no one would commit to finding any positive attribute in them.