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- Explain the accident investigation roles of each of the following agencies: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Explain why military services investigate and report their own accidents.
The role of the FAA in accident investigation is to evaluate and record all facts and circumstances leading to the action and ensure that action is taken to prevent similar accidents. This allows them to determine whether the accident involved any FAA-certified facilities and airmen and whether there was a violation of the FAA regulations that may have led to the accident. They are then responsible for informing the NTSB about the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident for determination of a probable cause. The NTSB is responsible for investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States, determining probable causes for these accidents and making recommendations to address any safety issues that have been identified. It sometimes delegates investigations to other agencies such as the FAA and uses the facts and information collected to determine the probable cause for the accident.
The ICAO is responsible for overseeing the safety of international flights and ensuring the international safety laws are followed. Investigations during accidents are carried by agencies within the countries associated with the accident. However, it monitors techniques and practices used during accidents and also give recommendations on safety standards. Military services investigate and report their own accidents to protect privileged safety information that may compromise the security of the country as a whole. It does its own investigations and reports them to the NTSB while ensuring such information is not released to the public.
- Explain how ICAO determines jurisdiction of international aviation accidents. Explain the reasons why the NTSB is often requested to assist in international aviation accident investigations.
According to Annex 13 of the ICAO requirements, the jurisdiction of international aviation accidents lies with the country where the accident has occurred, the country where the airline operator is from, the country responsible for the design and manufacturing of the aircraft and the State where the aircraft is registered. All these countries provide representatives to conduct investigations. The State where the accident occurred is in charge of the investigation. The NTSB is often requested to assist in the investigation where the airline involved and/or the aircraft is registered in the U.S. However, it is also requested because it is charged with ensuring compliance with the US obligations under the Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
- Identify and explain the duties of three of the NTSB GO Team members
The Go Team is responsible for immediate dispatch in the event of a major accident investigation and should be on call at all times. Representatives are chosen from different specialties in the NTSB. These are the human performance group who are responsible for investigating factors relating to the crew in the aircraft and any other factors that may have affected them before the accident occurred. Such factors include human error, influence of alcohol and drugs among others. Another specialty group in the Go team is the air traffic control group who are responsible for compiling information relating to any air traffic services given to the aircraft such as controller-pilot transmissions. A group specializing in structures of the plane is also part of the Go team. This is responsible for documenting the state of the aircraft wreckage and accident scene including calculation of impact angles to help determine the plane’s pre-impact course and attitude. These three specialty groups together with many others such as weather enable the NTSB to come up with a probable cause for the accident.
- Analyze the potential problems from rescue operations facing the investigator upon initial arrival at the accident scene. Explain the personal hazards that an investigator may encounter at an accident scene and personal precautions the investigator should take.
Potential problems from rescue operations that may face the investigator include flammable materials that may pose a risk of starting a fire and causing them harm. In addition there may be some items and materials that may emit toxic and hazardous gases in the area thereby leading to respiratory and even disease. The investigator is also at risk of getting cuts from metal and other sharp materials that may have been detached from the aircraft during the accidents. Before an investigation commences, a safety officer should be sent to the scene to analyze the scene and advise the members on how to protect them. However, an investigator should take personal precautions to protect themselves. This includes wearing protective clothes that will enable them to work in the area without any harm. They should wear heavy overalls and footwear that protect them in case of fire break outs. Heavy foot wear protect the feet from sharp and hazardous objects on the ground. In addition, they should also wear gas masks until it is verified that there are no toxic gases being emitted in the area. Gloves are also important when handling materials and items in the accident scene to prevent the hands from getting hurt and cut.
- Analyze the types of electronic evidence to be collected at the scene. What precautions should be taken with electronic evidence?
Types of electronic evidence collected are photographs, videos and voice recordings. Digital pictures can be taken of the wreck to keep record of how the accident scene was. This should be done before the investigation begins or the wreckage disturbed as it is crucial in determining the probable cause. Videos should also be compiled to record the state of the accident scene from the start and act as evidence. Voice recordings of the witnesses being interviewed are also important and enable the investigating team to analyze the situation that could have led to the accident. Precaution should be taken in storing the electronic material collected at the scene to ensure they are not tampered with or destroyed. They are very crucial to the investigations and should be stored where there is limited and only authorized access.
- Analyze the basic method of investigating all aircraft systems?
The first stage in the investigation process involves laying the groundwork for the process by making sure all equipment necessary are available. The investigators also inform the relevant authorities of their activities in the area. They should also organize for security for the wreckage in order to ensure no evidence is lost. Basic information such as the number of casualties, type of cargo and what happened during the accident is collected in order to be able to establish what safety requirements will be needed. The next stage involves making the necessary safety requirements in relation to the hazards identified. This ensures the investigators have the necessary protective clothes for the investigation. Once all these preliminary activities have been done, they visit the accident site and photograph the whole area to preserve the evidence. The next step is collecting the perishable evidence that can be destroyed with time. This ensures that the evidence is preserved even in the event that they are moved hence destroying the evidence. Finally they make a wreckage diagram and use the information to make conclusion on the probable cause for the accident. Movement of the wreckage should be delayed until after all this evidence has been collected and recorded.
- Explain the Reasons “Swiss Cheese” model for analyzing human factors in aviation accidents.
The “Swiss Cheese” model states that accidents occur as a result of human errors which influence each other. It looks at actions that are likely to be overlooked and may be instrumental in causing the accident. Such factors, though, not intended to be harmful build up and finally contribute to the accident. The “Swiss Cheese” model looks at four levels back from when the accident occurred and therefore come up with a probable cause. An example is when poor recruiting leads to incompetent supervisors who in turn do not oversee the activities being carried leaving room for mistakes to be made. These mistakes then lead to the accident and cause harm.
- Contrast the enhancements to aviation safety provided by increased cockpit automation with the potential human factors hazards introduced with automation.
Cockpit automation has led to improved per.............
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