Aircraft Accidents and Speculation-less Reporting

I spoke the other day with an aviation columnist; his questions were about the Trigana Air Service flight 257 accident and the ensuing investigation. He had asked my input, me having been a major accident investigator, on what directions the investigation would take.
You can tell when you are talking to someone who is from the aviation industry in that their questions are not aimed at sensationalism, but at facts. We discussed which recorder had been found, which had not, and what the procedure would be for acquiring that stored information. Also I was asked what data could be gleaned from the flight data recorder and what from the voice recorder. Finally he asked what I would do – as the maintenance investigator – to take advantage of the time and move the accident investigation forward.
This is important; while the pilot investigation group is piecing together the last minutes of the late pilots’ actions and the engineer groups are locating, marking and mapping the broken aircraft and engines; the Maintenance Group can be looking into the upkeep of the airframe and engines. Their focus is on inspections, aircraft health, the environment maintenance is conducted under, and whether important checks had been missed. They are saving valuable time.
That is what investigations are about: time conservation and proactive strategies. They guarantee a quicker probable cause and smarter recommendations, resulting in the saving of lives.

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