AIB $5.8 million equipment to service six west African countries

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Commissioner, Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) representative, Mr. Caj Frostell, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Engr. Akin Olateru and Singaporean government representative and trainer, Mr. Michael Toft, at the end of a training for AIB staff on the use of Flight Safety Laboratory located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja ...... at the weekend.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) says the multi-million dollar resuscitated Safety Laboratory Equipment of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) will be used by six countries in the west African sub-region.

The countries include,Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Caj Frostel from ICAO who is also the Commissioner for Banjul Accord Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) who stated this in Lagos, said the AIB equipment would go a long way in boosting safety not only in the sub-region, but Africa as a whole.

He said: “Much of what we did during the week was that we needed to establish that the equipment works. We have a BAGAIA interest that the AIB facility in Abuja becomes the centre of excellence in reading out flight recorders for all the seven countries. With BAGAIA we have ambition to expand to cover the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries and even Central and Southern Africa.

“There is no other flight recorder read out facility as you have in Abuja. These are potentially internationally customers that we hope to bring in. In the future, we will arrange familiarisation training on how these equipment are used in other countries.

Also commenting on the equipment, Mr. Michael Toft, a director in the accident investigation agency of Singapore who said he was in the country on the invitation of ICAO noted that the equipment was in the right shape to download and analyse information from the cockpit voice and data voice recorders popularly called the black boxes in case of a crash.

He explained that the same equipment is used in Singapore for data analysis, assuring that AIB’s engineers had been trained on how to handle the equipment for optimal usage.

“When I got here, I discovered that there were lots of commonality in equipment hardware and software. So, the first task in hand was to make an assessment of the laboratory, it was running fine with a nice accommodation. It has a good number of equipment and can read a large number of common flight recorder types that are installed on aircraft.

“The laboratory capability is equal if not better than Singapore. In terms of training, everything was nicely arranged and I completed my work quickly. I trained their investigators on how to manage the equipment, how to read out the data and how to decide the data.

“What is the software doing in the background and how you get result? It was successful. The personnel identified to manage the laboratory were very interested in knowing. They asked a lot of questions. I am happy I was given the opportunity to participate,” he said.

Cost of the resuscitated equipment is put at $5.8 million while the training of the AIB personnel on the handling of the equipment was facilitated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Singaporean Government.

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