ACCIDENT investigators will soon be getting their core training in Nigeria as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria is tinkering with establishing a training school in collaboration with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to train accident investigators.
The training facility has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) according to Commissioner and Chief executive of the AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru who gave this hint during a Gateway Forum with the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) where he hinted at some of his plans.
The Bureau, as established by international law cannot charge for any service rendered in the investigation of accidents and so the AIB has to devise means to fund its operations and one of the ways is to provide training to prospective accident investigators in and out of the nation.
Olateru also explained that it was no easy task to train investigators and given the fact that the country has 36 certified accident investigators and with the coming of the training school, it will reduce the capital flight lost to training and increase tremendously number of investigators trained.
He explained, “Currently, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved construction of AIB headquarters and AIB training school in Abuja. These projects have started; we have two laboratories – flight safety and material science. For the material science laboratory, it’s a work in progress because we want to transform the material science lab to an avenue where we can make money.
“We cannot charge for what we do. We don’t charge for accident investigation; we don’t invoice anybody. We can look for little areas where we can use our resources to make money. That is the way we are going so that we can be able to address the issue of funding.
“For the training school, we are doing this in conjunction with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), we are not licensed to train students, NCAT is, but we developed the curriculum together with a great input from recognized institutions around the world because this is new to NCAT as well. So once the training school is built, we can try and make the best out of it.
On how investigators are trained, the Commissioner explained the cost-intensive process stating that training is a continuum.
Olateru said,”We have 36 trained air safety investigators. We have been training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria. For instance, if you come in as a mechanical engineer to AIB, the first thing we want to do is to send you to NCAT to train you on aircraft maintenance engineering programme.
“ Then, you will become a licensed aircraft engineer and from there, we will send you to Southern California Safety Institute in the United States for a two weeks course on accident investigation. Then, you go to Cranfield University for a six weeks programme on accident investigation. You will do the intermediate and the advance courses and there are other courses, which come in between and make you a better investigator.
“One thing about training is that it is continuous. We do training in-house. Training is not what you can exactly put cost to because it is versed and it is a continuous process.
He however said,”But, very soon, all that will change. That is why in the wisdom of FEC, they approved AIB training school to be built in Abuja. The project is ongoing. That will save us all these US dollars that we spend on training overseas. We too can train Africans, people from Europe on accident investigation and the auxiliary costs that go with it.
“We have drawn up curriculum from Cranfield University, Singapore Training Institute and NCAT. So, we want to make it a world-class institution because we want to push this training through so that we can earn some good money from it for the country and safe us money as well,” he concluded.