Air Accidents Investigation Branch's 2016 Report Issued

The report includes information on the occurrence factors established from the AAIB investigations and articles on AAIB's use of simulators and drones in accident investigations.

England's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) recently published its Annual Safety Review for 2016, reporting on its activity during 2016 and reviewing the 57 Safety Recommendations and Safety Actions it published. Board personnel deployed to conduct field investigations 38 times, including 14 times for fatal accidents in the United Kingdom, and 208 correspondence investigation reports were made during the year, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents Crispin Orr noted in his introduction to the report.

Orr joined AAIB in January 2017.

The report includes information on the occurrence factors established from the AAIB investigations and articles on AAIB's use of simulators and drones in accident investigations.

Orr wrote that "2017 heralds major changes for the UK and its international relationships. However, the continual pursuit of aviation safety transcends national boundaries and the AAIB will continue to work very closely with regional and global partners not only to investigate specific accidents and serious incidents under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) framework but also to develop agile, responsive investigation capability to meet the challenges of tomorrow."

Loss of control in flight of general aviation aircraft was the most prevalent factor in fatal accidents during 2016, he wrote, adding that two fatal accidents were attributed to medical incapacitation and the 24 deployments to non-fatal occurrences "were mostly to serious incidents involving commercial air transport, where system, component failure, or malfunction did not result in an accident." And the board deployed to six accidents overseas, including to Nepal, Norway, Dubai, and Colombia, and participated in 87 other international investigations.

Encouragingly, there was a significant increase in 2016 in the Safety Actions taken by organizations prior to the publication of the AAIB report on their incidents -- 90 did so compared with 34 in 2015, Orr wrote. He said this improvement reflects the open dialogue with AAIB inspectors "and the appetite of regulators and operators to take immediate positive action." However, there 36 of the responses to the 57 Safety Recommendations are still classified as "partially adequate" or "not adequate."

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