THE Accident Investigation Commission is saying goodbye to Alan Stray as he returns home to Canberra, Australia on Monday after a three-year stint.
He had served in the country before.
“I had a few shorter stints helping the AIC in 2011, 2014, and 2015.”
His career in aviation began in January 1965. He underwent training to become an aircraft maintenance engineer. He came to PNG in January 1970 and flew around the country as a mission pilot and engineer, spending the next 10 years living in some remote locations.
After seven years as a regional airline captain in Australia, he joined the Australian Government as an aircraft accident investigator in January 1987.
He holds an aircraft maintenance engineering licence and an airline transport pilot licence, with more than 11,500 hours flying experience.
While with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau as director of international investigations from March 2007, Alan spent more than three years in Indonesia training and mentoring Indonesian accident investigators with the National Transportation Safety Committee. He retired from the bureau in June 2010.
Between 2011 and 2016, Alan assisted the PNG AIC on short-term assignments and drafted the first investigation policy and procedures for the commission in 2011.
“ I had a few shorter stints helping the AIC in 2011, 2014, and 2015.”
He conducted investigation basics and report writing training courses for AIC investigators.
In 2016, Alan joined the AIC full time as the investigations manager and adviser to the chief executive officer and the board. In the past three years, the AIC has developed into a leading independent aircraft accident investigation agency in the region.
Alan has been instrumental in mentoring the AIC’s investigators to conduct and report on 34 accident investigations and nine serious incident investigations, 71 safety recommendations issued to the aviation industry in PNG and abroad to rectify identified safety deficiencies and concerns.
AIC chief commissioner Hubert Namani thanks him for working long hours, seven days a week, providing guidance to the young team of investigators. It also involved working at accident sites, which included the high-altitude accident site at the Sarawaget Ranges and the Boeing 737 accident in the Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia.
Students on his investigation training courses included safety officers from PNG and Pacific region states airlines, aircraft operators and maintenance organisations.
Alan led and mentored the investigators with professionalism, sound ethics and integrity. The team has embraced these high standards and is recognised throughout the aviation industry in PNG and globally for excellence, integrity and professionalism in accident and incident investigation, according to Namani.
It is only fitting that Alan, who began his aviation career after an initial training, is ending his full-time aviation career here too.
He will be replaced by Winston San Martin as the investigations manager and adviser of the AIC. Winston brings more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry as a pilot, accident investigator and safety management expert assessor and trainer for the International Civil Aviation Organisation.