Indian Dhruv accident – should an independent organisation check the FDR?

Indian Dhruv accident – should an independent organisation check the FDR? 30 Jul, 14, Source: HeliHub.com

Sadly there was a bad accident with an Indian Air Force Dhruv in the state of Uttar Pradesh last Friday, and we recorded that in our Safety data section here.

The “black box” – Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) – are now being analysed in an attempt to find out what happened and learn from its findings.  However, the FDR and CVR are being worked on by manufacturer HAL (according to this news report) and not by an independent investigation organisation just as it would be for civil accidents in most countries – the AAIB in the UK, NTSB in US, BEA in France, and so on.

We’re not saying that HAL won’t do a good job, but how credible is an investigation by an interested party?  The potential exists to hide some evidence or findings.  And that translates into a less-than-believable report, even if it genuinely is 100% complete.  A manufacturer should be interested in the outcome of an investigation, of course, because they need to understand what part of their R&D process was below par, and how best to correct it.  Nevertheless, they should also actively strive for an independent report.

The other aspect is that this is a military accident.  In many countries military accidents are investigated by the military themselves.  How does the legal fraternity view this?  Is this independent?  Interestingly, the investigation of the fatal US Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk in the UK in January 2014 has already been released – perhaps the lack of other organisations ensured the swift conclusion and report?  The UK AAIB typically takes two years to release a report on a fatal accident, by comparison

Either way, it sounds like the investigation process needs some refining.

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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