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Ted PariseeProfile: Ted Parisee

Specialist uses high-tech tools to investigate accidents

Combining hard-nosed investigative techniques with sophisticated computer modelling, Ted Parisee, an accident investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), helps piece together what happened and why.

The TSB is a world leader in the field of accident investigation in the marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation modes. Ted is one of the skilled people constantly devising new ways to improve the TSB’s effectiveness.

A safer journey

As an independent agency, the TSB’s purpose is to make transportation safer. Achieving this goal requires precision, patience and the collective effort of the TSB and teams of skilled accident investigators.

During an investigation, Ted and a team of specialists painstakingly comb through accident debris. They gather and analyze data to discover and recreate the causes of the accident. With that information, the TSB informs regulators and industry of its findings, makes recommendations and helps to minimize future risks.

“My workload changes
on a regular basis.
This makes the job much
more interesting and gives
me a feeling of satisfaction
each time I complete
a task,”

Time-honoured methods and new techniques

Ted’s expertise stands as a laudable example of the diverse skill sets within the TSB. He uses 3-D and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) technology to enhance information collected by field investigators from photos, drawings, data recorders, site surveys and other sources. Ted’s pioneering use of these high-tech tools has helped to shape modern accident investigation.

For example, with site survey information and aerial photos found at an aircraft crash site, Ted can determine the aircraft’s altitude and flight path before it crashed. He uses the information to create 3-D models, which help to describe and validate theories about the events leading to the accident.

Ted started his university studies in engineering but finished with a degree in computer science. His educational background has helped him understand both the engineering principles at play in an accident, and how to use CAD and 3-D modeling tools to demonstrate them.

“Each investigation is unique and I often use a combination of time-honoured methods and new techniques. My workload also changes on a regular basis. This makes the job much more interesting and gives me a feeling of satisfaction each time I complete a task,” says Ted.

Lessons from the Swissair tragedy

During his nine years with TSB, Ted has worked on many major investigations. One of his first big projects was the investigation of the Swissair Flight 111 crash off the coast of Nova Scotia in September 1998. Working with the TSB fire and explosion team, he helped create a 3-D model of the spreading fire that caused the crash.

The Swissair investigation was the longest and most complex in the TSB’s history. Based on a variety of complex data, such as the burn characteristics of aircraft materials, air flow patterns above the aircraft’s ceiling and flight data recorder information, Ted’s model helped the Swissair investigative team see and understand how the fire developed and spread. It was also crucial in giving Canadians a full picture of the events leading up to the accident.

Following its investigation, the TSB made a number of recommendations to make flying safer, including reducing certain flammable materials on airplanes and making safety testing stricter and more realistic.

Credibility on the world stage

Ted Parisee

The TSB enjoys a great deal of credibility throughout the world. Ted stands as an example of the kind of talented people who are making transportation safer for all Canadians.

“Working for the TSB has been a unique experience,” he says. “I get the benefit of working with and learning from a team with different specialties while also getting the opportunity to work with people from around the world.”

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