Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer-Accident Investigation Section, Accident Investigation & Aircraft Oversight Department, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA)
The Accident Investigation and Aircraft Oversight Department of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) plays a highly important role towards ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies through detailed and timely analysis of accidents and issuance of safety recommendations to enhance preventive measures.
“We work in coordination with other entities including the GCAA with the main focus on ensuring safety of Dubai’s skies in all possible aspects,” Ali Mohammad Abbas, Accident Investigation Officer from the Accident Investigation Section of the department in DCAA, told Via Dubai.
The department is continuously working toward enhancing its operations and will soon incorporate drones in the purview of its operations, said Abbas.
Abbas, who is the recipient of ‘Best Innovative Thinking Award’ from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for the first-ever innovative idea of a radar that deals with the challenges posed by drones, said the work culture at the DCAA inspires all its employees to give their best at all times and in this encouraging environment, he continues to work on more innovative ideas and is firmly committed to give better than his best.
Excerpts from the interview:
You were recently awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award. Can you share with us the idea that brought the award.
The DCAA has created a work environment for us that inspires us to be innovative and to contribute to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
In November last year, I was awarded with the ‘Best Innovative Thinking’ award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.
Having been involved with the challenges posed by drones to the safety of our skies, I came up with an idea to have a system, which is a combination of few radars, that can detect drones, get full specifications and stops them from disturbing the airspace.
This idea was presented and was accepted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Majlis and redirected to the concerned parties.
We were the first in the world to present this idea.
The recognition that came through this award is a great inspiration to continue giving my best and I am working on more new ideas. I must say the encouraging work environment at the DCAA bring continuous motivation.
How do you and your department contribute to the DCAA’s aim of ensuring the safety of Dubai’s skies.
My responsibility is to attend the reported accidents and incidents in Dubai, Dubai
We work in coordination with different entities including the GCAA, Dubai Airports and those concerned. We evaluate the scene, investigate How did the occurrence take place, , communicate with the entities involved, and finally generate a report with the related safety recommendations.
As you know aviation industry is growing rapidly and safety is the top priority. Our reports support the pillar of safety. Through our recommendations, we try to help entities prevent something that could happen in the future. Through these reports we analyse as well as make suggestions.
If we find, for instance, that the issue was related to process, we bring the attention of the concerned entity to the issue so they can improve. Our recommendations are based on an indepth observation and analysis and go far beyond the surface level.
For example, a simple situation where a human error occurs can result in a safety recommendation that involves a full review of the entire entity’s operation in relation to the duty rostering and overtime limitations, in order to eliminate the root cause these preventive measures has to be looked at.
Which are the most common types of accidents and what are the common reasons?
The nature of accidents is very diverse, each accident is different. There could be major or minor accidents ranging from total loss of an aircraft to minor dents on a fuselage structure, the amount of damage is irrelevant in some cases, due to the fact that a safety barrier failed which resulted in the occurrence.
The reasons also vary. It could be human error or a technical glitch. I must add that in Dubai, we have solid processes in place to help prevent these occurrences.
How strong is DCAA’s investigation department?
For us, we consider ourselves as our competition. The focus is to continue improving from where we are. Having said that, our department is very strong and our contribution to the aviation safety clearly show that fact.
Our section, in particular, has staff with different types of expertise- operational, investigation, engineering and other areas.
Having this team prepared 24x7 to cover the entirety of Dubai including Dubai Airport and Al Maktoum International is very important.
The DCAA’s stakeholders know that there is a department that backs them and prepares constructive reports for the industry. This is a trust that we honour.
We try to constantly upgrade and improve ourselves and keep ourselves updated all the time.
What are the plans to further enhance the operations of your department?
We do have a plan of going fully smart in 2018 and we have started that in several aspects right now.
One of the innovative ideas that is implemented already is to incorporate drones in our investigations.
The staff is already undergoing training for this.
We will be able to present the reports in no time as the smart system will assist in reducing the time consumption in preparing safety reports the system will be very dynamic while being engaged in preparing the reports.
Q. What is the best part of your work at the DCAA?
Routine is not a part of our job, everyday there is something new, something exciting and stimulating. As our work has a big impact on the safety of the aviation industry, we get lots of opportunities to interact with the best minds from top organisations and entities, which I would say, is a blessing in itself.
I feel that all of us in our section give our best at all times. We are ahead of our problems and feel empowered due to the support from our higher management. The work culture is very encouraging and always inspiring to continue toward excellence.