Congratulations on your Comment (Flight International, 1-7 October), though I fear that you may be flogging a dead horse as far as the International Civil Aviation Organisation is concerned. ICAO is reluctant to assume any responsibility for active accident investigation.

When it was suggested that a state could be requested to reassess some dubious findings, ICAO secretary general Costa Pereira replied that, among other items, prevention of controlled flight into terrain and the reduction of approach and landing accidents had prior demand upon resources. Which was the point: the findings in question were distorting his CFIT and approach accident statistics.

ICAO, endeavouring to dissipate international responsibility, has revised Annex 13. 5. Paragraph 27, to give states suffering casualties the opportunity to appoint an observer to investigations. This has met with a lukewarm reception from the UK authorities who, though declaring support for the provision, also quote lack of resources, and refuse to discuss any criteria for implementation.

The thought that an ICAO chairman could preside over an investigation with expertise provided by the State of Occurrence is also debatable. Many states do not possess the necessary skills. Ideally a complete international team would have to be available, not just a chairman. Accident investigation needs complete reappraisal if local interests and ignorance are not to continue to cloud the primary objective of discovering the true causes of accidents.

Jack Emmerson


Source: Flight International