By Lawani Mikairu
Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, has said that the bureau could not use drone for the investigation of the Quorum Aviation Helicopter that recently crashed in Lagos because the bureau has not been licensed to use drone by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
The Commissioner, AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru made this known at the weekend while fielding questions as a guest at the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Gateway Forum webinar in Lagos.
He also said the bureau collaborations with other rescue government agencies have helped in its investigation of air accidents and incidents.
Answering questions on the recent accident involving a Bell Helicopter 206-B III aircraft operated by Quorum Aviation Limited, Olateru said the investigation is still ongoing.
He further said AIB could not use a drone for the investigation because the process is in certification stage, adding that, “We are not yet licensed by NCAA to use drones. It is in the certification process”.
Explaining further, he said: “drone is essential when you have a wider area of crash. That is why we really didn’t need it this time. The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency,
(LASEMA) used their drones to take some pictures. On our own. We gather the right information needed for investigation”.
Speaking about collaboration and co,- operations the AIB boss said: “We have got some co-operations from organs like Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).
“You see the way LASEMA handled the last accident and that is why we are making effort to sign an MoU with LASEMA and see how we can train their staff on how we work, what we expect from them where there is an accident.”
He also revealed that it has been difficult getting the necessary collaboration from some agencies.
Olateru said ” Since 2017, I have been pursuing the Nigeria Navy to sign an MoU. It is not the day we have an accident that we start looking for whom to call, this is the essence of all these MoUs”.
“Recently, we just signed with the Nigerian Air Force and one of the benefits of that is, aircraft which drops from the sky in a bad or difficult terrain that we cannot access, the Air Force can help us with the logistics”..
“We too can be of help to the Air Force because we have a world-class safety lab in Abuja and so rather than the Air Force sending their ‘black box’ overseas, they can use our lab and save Nigeria some cost. At the end of the day, it is to the benefit of the entire nation”.
“For National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), we have been at this MoU since 2017, we are still talking and that’s what I mean by sometimes it can be frustrating. AIB is not Akin Olateru’s own; it’s a Federal Government agency.”
On training, the Commissioner said they are doing so much in terms of training. According to him, “We have been training in Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).
“Once you come in as an engineer. We train you as an aircraft maintenance engineer. We also do further international training, including that of the Southern California Institute of Safety in USA”.