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Industry body backs concerns regarding TAIC

Industry body backs concerns regarding TAIC

The Aviation Industry Association of NZ backed the concerns of the Chief Executive of Air Fiordland regarding a report by the NZ Transport Accident Investigation Commission into an accident involving one of his aircraft.

“We have been concerned for some time that Industry wide there appears to be decreasing confidence in the work being done by TAIC”, said Irene King, Chief Executive of AIA.

“The whole purpose of having an independent accident investigation organisation is that its findings will be taken on board and safety enhanced by learning from the lessons that are there to be found in any accident.

“However, that requires there to be confidence in those findings and unfortunately, one botched and several questionable investigations means that any such confidence is eroding. The report released this morning has simply added to those concerns.

“The significance of wrong findings is much greater than the error. It means that the real cause goes undetected and unnoticed and remains to trap another pilot on another day. No finding is better than a wrong finding.”

AIA repeats its call from earlier this year for changes in TAIC:

• Careful amendment to the TAIC legislation to allow evidence and findings to be more transparent and open to critical analysis
• A significant improvement in TAIC’s internal quality assurance program

AIA supports the suggestion by Mr Baker from Air Fiordland that TAIC should second appropriate specialists to its investigation teams according to the particular issue involved.

Ms King said that Mr Baker is known throughout the industry as having a strong commitment to safety. She thought that TAIC had been too quick to disregard his evidence and experience and other senior pilots who were surveyed about the effects of wing tip vortices in light aircraft. She thought that there were some uncomfortable similarities with the TAIC report and its approach on the Tauramanui helicopter accident which wrongly found that two maintenance engineers were to blame.

“In that case, TAIC said there findings were based on the evidence they had at the time but as the engineers pointed out, they had told TAIC that they had done their jobs correctly. It was TAIC that chose to disbelieve them. There are worrying similarities here in the Air Fiordland incident.

“AIA would like TAIC to withdraw this report and re-open the investigation so that we can all be confident that the truth has been found.

“This is not about blame; it is about learning what actually went wrong so that the same situation in future can be avoided. It is clear in hindsight that there were some errors involved in this accident but the key question is ‘which’ errors. That’s what we all must be sure about.”


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