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Legality of accident investigation reports mentioning names of maintenance companies

I wonder why the UK AAIB never does this.

Rumour has it that they get threatened by lawyers acting for the various parties, but can you get sued for neutrally reporting an established fact?

The Swiss board seems to not have a problem with it.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

As far as I know, telling the truth is not libellous. Perhaps they don't like the idea of the (inevitable) flak which would ensue.

Egnm, United Kingdom

These reports are worded carefully. A description of the event and a list of facts. I don't think there's any ground to sue.

Perhaps the maintenance companies in the UK have good connections with people at the AAIB ...

It is the English lagal mentality! Many types of enquiry will mention names without apportioning blame but then those individuals and companies possibly in the firing line are entitled to a participation in the enquiry and to be represented, which would inevitably cause yet more delay to an already long process. Examples are coroners' courts, where parties can be represented but even then the coroner does not apportion blame as his job is to make a finding as to "when, where and how" without apportioning blame - that is the role of the civil court. Public enquiries come closest to naming and shaming, eg the Levison enquiry into press standards. I don't know anything about Swiss law, but generall on the continent an incident, whether in the air or on land (eg Spanish rail crash) is given to a "judge" to investigate, so the whole thing is an inquisitorial quasi-criminal process where the judge summonses the parties and interrogates them and directs the police and other authorities to carry out specific enquiries. "Judge" in this context means either an examining magistrate or, depending on the country, the public prosecutor. Obviously the AAIB and similar are very different organisations and they have no judicial role or any role in finding civil liability, hence the reluctance to name an organisation or individual, since this is not relevent to their essentila task of showing what went wrong and making proposals (in some cases).

By and large they don't mention the pilot by name either, even though we are by far the most common cause of accidents.


I think most of us read accident reports so we can learn from them and take actions to make sure it does not happen to us.

I can learn from the mistakes individuals make without knowing their name.

I can avoid flying aircraft which have characteristics that lead to accidents, they are "named".

I cannot avoid individuals or organisations I consider problematic unless they are named.

Hence the an interest knowing the organisations that do bad work, especially if it is repetitive. At the very least, I would want to be able to talk to them about and hear "their side of the story".

Biggin Hill

Possibly, one reason the company names don't appear is that naming them would force the CAA to take action against them.

Currently, the CAA takes action against very few bad companies. The names of some of the bad ones have passed into common knowledge among aircraft owners but the CAA has not taken action against any of the ones I know about. They were completely uninterested even when I passed them details of one "well known" company which appeared to be forging documents (on a job they did for me).

But the CAA cannot act in every case because the evidence is hard to collect. If someone e.g. sells a non serial numbered part, of a dubious origin, with an EASA-1 form which is bona fide in itself but came with another batch of those parts, you cannot prove it unless you can find all the other instances of that part which that EASA-1 form (which may have had a quantity of say 10 on it) covered. That is a lot of work, going through old work packs, but the work packs don't have to be retained for ever.

I normally collect the work pack for any significant job but in that case the company refused to give it to me.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
7 Posts
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