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Safety boost from Thor’s ICAO audit

Thor Thormodsson has spent the past eight years travelling the world undertaking safety oversight audits for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Thor Thormodsson audits for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The Continuous Monitoring Coordinator from ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme is a commercial and instrument-rated pilot. He believes his work makes a significant difference to safety, especially in nations with less sophisticated safety oversight.

“What we find is that in some of these countries there might be fewer resources devoted to aviation transport safety,” the former Iceland accident investigator said.

“This can manifest in, for example, a lack of training and documented procedures as well as less robust reporting culture around incidents.

“There is no doubt there are dedicated people working in these places but it is when we identify specific issues, and demonstrate how they can affect safety, that our work makes a difference.”

Based at ICAO headquarters in Montreal, and armed with a technical/business degree from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the US, Thor lives and breathes his auditing—to the point where he applies it to himself.

A keen footballer for many years before turning to distance running Thor, 53, was keen to take on a triathlon. A full body audit identified major flaws in his swimming.

“You really need to be competent in the freestyle which meant I needed to do a lot of work to get me through a 1500m swim in a Standard distance triathlon which also includes a 40km bike ride and a 10km run,” he said.

“I will put my training to the test in June when I do my first triathlon, back in Montreal.”

In the meantime Thor will complete his ICAO audit of the ATSB and schedule in several other audits, south and north of the equator.

He says his job has taken him to fascinating places, often with customs he feels ‘obligated’ to participate in. On a few occasions, this has resulted in headaches the morning after.

“On the whole, my job is highly rewarding,” he said. “It keeps me in touch with the outside world. I perform an audit, then go back to the country and see significant differences due to the audit findings and safety recommendations.”

Thor, who is on his first visit to Australia, hopes his personal audit will result in similarly positive outcomes in his first triathlon.

Naturally Thor can’t comment on the ATSB audit before it’s completed, but we can be sure it will be used only to further enhance aviation transport safety in Australia.

ICAO auditor Thor Thormodsson likes to keep fit with outdoor activitiesICAO auditor Thor Thormodsson likes to keep fit with outdoor activities

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Last update 11 April 2017