On Wednesday, 30th January, 2013 a team of Aviation Accident Investigators from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit (AAIPU) paid a courtesy call on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Doral (Miami), Florida, USA.
The NTSB is the United States’ investigative agency, charged with the investigation of multiple modes of transportation; aviation being one of the modes.
The fact-finding mission was designed to, not only give Bahamian aviation investigators an opportunity to meet and get-to-know their counterparts, but to also establish protocols and discuss matters of mutual concerns as they relate to aviation accident investigations.
With the requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for the separation of the Aviation Accident Investigation Unit from the Flight Standards Inspectorate (Regulatory Unit), where it is currently located, the meeting was also designed to gather information and ideas on how to establish the independence of this investigation unit, separate and apart from the Regulatory Unit of the Civil Aviation Department.
Air Safety Investigators Delvin Major, Philip Romer, Eulys Smith and Deidree Williams from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Department met with Mr. Steven Gottlieb, Regional Chief of the NTSB Eastern Region, as well as Mr. Jeffrey Kennedy, Deputy Chief and Mr. Timothy Monville, Senior Air Safety Investigator of the NTSB Eastern Region.
The meeting was fruitful and insightful, and a good rapport was established among investigators.
The AAIPU has much work to do and the Bahamian Investigators are now more aware of what has to be done in order to bring the AAIPU up to internationally accepted standards as required by the international community.
An avenue of communication and assistance has been opened by the NTSB, committing to assist the AAIPU with information, as required, to help the accident unit to establish its independence.
The AAIPU has received, and is currently evaluating, documents in use by ICAO, the NTSB and the AAIPU for compatibility in an effort to streamline documents as well as the accident investigation process.
Overall, the fact-finding mission was a great success.
The regulatory processes, procedures and policies that are currently in place provide a framework for the AAIPU to conduct investigations effectively.
However, the major concern, Legislation, remains, which is required to govern the independence of the investigation unit.
The accident investigators plan to closely work with both the Minister and the Director of Civil Aviation to ensure that Legislation and subsequent regulations are established and effective for an independent investigative unit of this size.
By Bahamas Information Services