Broken Wing Exercise 2019


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On Wednesday, 12th June 2019, a traditional three-day crisis response exercise called Broken Wing 2019 took place at the Aviation Academy’s training field at Ljubljana Airport. The main purpose of the exercise was to check the response and coordination of all the involved actors in the event of an aircraft accident involving both civilians and military personnel.

Broken Wing was organized by the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Board of the Ministry of Defence, in coordination with the General Police Directorate, the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, the Criminal Police Directorate, the National Forensic Laboratory, the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, and Fraport Slovenija. More than 70 members of various organizations took part in the exercise, including guests from international aircraft accident and incident investigation authorities from the USA, the United Kingdom, Austria, Hungary, France and Germany.

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This year’s scenario included a collision between an airport bus and a passenger aircraft Airbus A320, hired by the Slovenian Armed Forces and owned by a NATO member country, in the airport manoeuvring area. The aircraft had been hired to transport Slovenian and foreign military personnel to a Peacekeeping Mission area. The aerodrome bus carried civilians who had missed their on-time arrival for their flight. The collision resulted in a fire; there were several casualties, including the aerodrome bus passengers and aircraft cabin crew members. The airport firefighters, who were the first to arrive at the scene, demonstrated the process of extinguishing the fire and started the activation of the rescue process. During their intervention, a container with unknown, potentially dangerous contents was found at the crash scene. In the further development of the exercise, the participants offered visitors a demonstration of the security of the crash-site, an inspection and recording from a helicopter for the purpose of checking the safety of the approach, aerial photography, an examination of the area for the possible presence of mine explosive agents/dangerous materials, the removal of explosive materials with the help of a specially designed robot, the identification and protection of evidence, and forensic activity such as the identification of the victims.

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After the successful practical part, the participants continued with their work at Pokljuka, where they discussed the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the use of new technological approaches for the purpose of investigating aircraft accidents/incidents, and participated in additional practical demonstrations. Exercises like Broken Wing strengthen cooperation between different organizations at the national and international levels, and represent an important contribution to the development of correct procedures and measures and the sharing of roles and responsibilities in the event of such incidents.