THE use of drones to traverse challenging terrain to get to accident sites and ensure data accuracy in Nigeria received a major boost with the training of 10 investigators of the Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) on the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) popularly referred to as drones.
Speaking on Thursday at the closing ceremony of the weeklong Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) training for investigators, held at University of Lagos (UNILAG) Consult, in Lagos, Commissioner of AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru said that the Drone technology has become very critical to modern aircraft accident Investigation.
ReelIng out some benefits to accident investigation, the AIB boss said a drone technology has become very critical to modern aircraft accident Investigation, which benefits included first responder capability, on-time post-crash site preservation capability, gathering, preservation and analysis of crash site evidence, 3D modelling capability and accurate and complete wreckage diagram through site mapping capability.
He said: “Adapting to the latest trends and technologies in accident investigation ensures that our facilities and reports are rated highly all over the world. To ensure that these trends and technologies are effectively and efficiently utilized, our staff need to be regularly trained and retrained.
The AIB helmsman declared that deployment of the technology was important to the investigation process, stressing that mishap could occur anywhere.
He maintained the equipment could also help its investigators to capture the whole site from the initial impact point to the wreckage’s final resting location.
“The ground marks and wreckage distribution help to identify how the aircraft hit the ground. Aerial images are also useful for showing the relative positions of obstacles, such as trees or buildings, which may have been struck before ground impact.
“They help to reveal the surrounding terrain and environment that the pilot faced if there was an attempted forced landing. And when it’s a large aircraft at an accident site, aerial images help to document the damage to its upper surfaces,” he said.
According to the AIB helmsman, the training was the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) approved RPAS training according to the advisory circular GAD-AC-002B, which has been formed in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) RPAS Operations Document 10019, Section 8.4.31 internationally and the NCAA General advisory GAD-AC-002 Section 4.7/ Appendix E29 locally.
He said the document was currently under extensive review by NCAA.
He equally lauded UFO Aerial Services for training the AIB staff on the use of the equipment and appealed to the trainees to put the knowledge garnered at the training to proper use in order to encourage others.
Also, Mr. Damilola Adelala, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UFO Aerials Services, extolled the commitment of the trainees, saying they behaved professionally throughout the duration of the course.
Mr. Adelala explained that the training acquired during the period would help them to improve their technological-know-how about the job and data gathering.
Also, Prof. Adebayo Otitoloju, the Managing Director of UNILAG Consult, expressed joy that the consult could partner with AIB to conduct the training for its investigators.
Olateru had earlier explained that in 2019 alone, AIB trained its investigators in the United Kingdom, United States and several other countries around the world and vowed that the management would would not relent on its efforts to enhance human capacity building, not just for the industry, but for the country at large.
“At AIB, we believe in investing in our human capital so that they can be able to put in their best in the delivery of their various duties. To make any organization a success story, human capital remains the greatest asset and you must invest in it. It is important to continuously train and equip the staff, give them support and they must trust you as management for them to be able to deliver on their mandate.
“So far, this ideology has worked greatly for AIB. We now publish our final reports timely, thanks to our adaptation of the latest trends and technologies and rigorous training of our human capital.”
He further noted that the current management since it came onboard a few years ago, had raised the profile of AIB from a sleeping agency to a more vibrant one, noting that management had also improved the equipment, infrastructure, training and welfare for staff, while it had a new Condition of Service (CoS) approved for its staff.