What is the purpose of a Safety Investigation of an aviation disaster?
The answer is simple and singular: the purpose of a Safety Investigation is to determine what happened and what actions can be taken to ensure that the event does not reoccur?
This is the simple and singular purpose of a Safety Investigation of an aviation disaster.
Pilot associations and other line pilot advocates world wide have been asking the question, “Has the BEA’s investigation of the AF 447 aviation disaster met the purpose of a Safety Investigation?”
Has the BEA’s investigation asked and answered the question, “What happened and what actions can be taken to ensure that the event does not reoccur?”
It is the opinion of pilot associations and line pilot advocates that the BEA’s investigation is incomplete in this regard and possibly incorrect as a result.
It appears that the question that BEA was asking and answering was, “Who was at fault and who is responsible for damages?”
Why is that important? Are the two statements of inquiry really just the different versions of the same question?
Well, actually no, not at all.
The question of “Who was at fault and who pays for the damages?” is not a safety question at all. Rather this is legal question. It addresses English Common Law negligence and compensation. The investigation does not seek to prevent further occurrences of the same event. Rather, it seeks damages for negligence.
Meanwhile the safety question, “How did this happen and what actions can be taken to ensure that the event does not reoccur?” actually does not appear to be addressed completely by BEA.
Why is this statement important? The answer is simple. Every other airline flying an aircraft manufactured by this manufacturer has been reading the BEA report over and over again. But have they found anything in the report that they can take action on to prevent this event from occurring to their operation?
If the answer is not totally and completely yes, then the investigation is incomplete and possibly incorrect.