Gordon MP Richard Thomson has said that it should not have taken an incident requiring to be investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) for safeguards to be put in place for future aerial surveys.
The MP was commenting on a report into a serious incident which occurred on 17 September last year when a helicopter carrying out an aerial survey in connection with ground minerals using an underslung sensor crashed the sensor into power lines, blacking out over 1600 homes in the Balmedie area.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“I am grateful to the AAIB for their investigation work and very much welcome the safety recommendations they have made. This was a serious incident and it is fortunate that neither pilot nor anyone on the ground were injured.
“The fact we have no less that seven recommendations from the AAIB to the Civil Aviation Authority raises some questions around why the CAA should have felt able to sign-off this aerial survey in the first place, particularly given the single-crewed helicopter pilot was relying on his own visual observations looking for obstructions below a certain height as these did not appear on his maps and charts.
“This seems a fairly glaring omission, recognised by the recommendation not only to have such obstacles available on the flight maps, but also to have a second crew member acting as a lookout so the pilot can concentrate on what is a difficult job at the best of times. It really should not have taken an incident of this nature for that to be put in place.”
Note: A copy of the AAIB report may be accessed here: