Sputnik: What can you tell us about the how the investigation will unfold?
Guy Gratton: The responsibility for the investigation will be with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch who are part of the Department of Transport based at Farnborough. They’ll have an investigation already ongoing led by two inspectors led by a pilot and one will be an engineer. There interests will be at the moment in gathering evidence from three directions, one is documenting and pulling together the wreckage, they are using drones to photograph everything before packaging everything up and taking it back to Farnborough. I understand the helicopter has both flight data and cockpit voice recorders so they will be recovering those and they’ll also be gathering eye witness evidence.
Guy Gratton: The pilot as I understand was a very experienced professional helicopter pilot, I also understand that flying with him was not technically as a co-pilot but as a pilot assistant an experience fix wing pilot. He will certainly have insured the safety of the aircraft, there are very strict maintenance rules that have to be followed at all times and there will be a team behind the helicopter insuring all of that. He will of assessed the safety of the site and I gather he has flown that aircraft a number of times. On the flight out his planning will have taken account of risk of the failures, whatever the failures are we do not know yet. He will have planned routes that ensure if he does have that he can put the helicopter somewhere where he won’t cause harm to anyone outside the helicopter.
Guy Gratton: I think it’s a bit too early to say, the regulations are above all about protection of 3rd parties and the fact that this tragedy happened no one outside of the helicopter has been hurt, it suggests things were done well and sensibly in terms of the planning and the location of the route. If you look at the film going around of the take-off, he took off in a deserted stadium and out into a direction that took him over an empty car park. I think without a doubt the accident investigators will be looking at every element and if they need to make recommendations to improve safety, they will do that. But at first sight, it seemed the safety regulations worked.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.