Seth Buttner

Aeronautical Science, Aviation Technology, Business Option '94

Senior Accident Investigator, American Eurocopter

Q. Where do you work, and what do you do?

“I am a senior air safety investigator (ASI) for the Cessna Aircraft Company. My department assists the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and/or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during on-site investigation of Cessna aircraft accidents. We also assist foreign countries for aircraft accident investigations. One of the primary responsibilities as an ASI is to analyze our findings and prepare accident investigation reports for our management and engineering staff. In some accident cases we analyze the allegations and claims made in legal actions against Cessna Aircraft Company.”

Q. How did LETU prepare you for the workplace?

“What I gained at LeTourneau is not only the body of knowledge and the skill sets I need for my job, but the aptitude to accurately weigh the sequence of aircraft events that might support the basis for a cause.”

Q. What are some of the most interesting projects you've worked on?

“No two planes crash the same; every case seems to be unique and interesting. Some of the most interesting or more difficult cases have been those that have no survivors or witnesses, or the ones in hard to reach locations. Nonetheless, I enjoy the one where I get to work closely with specialists from different fields, such as forensic analysts, ATC specialists or even some of our own Cessna mechanical, environmental, electrical or human factor engineers.”

Q. What do you like best about your job?

“The most enjoyable part of this job is the traveling. There are certainly no rules as to where a plane might crash, and you never know where you will be going next. In my last 10 years I have been from the Arctic Circle to just about knee-deep in the Amazon River, and pretty much everywhere in between. Because the accident sites are often in remote locations, getting to the mishap site has not only included hiking in, but also traveling by helicopter, snowmobile, airboat and ATV's; I have even ridden a pack mule! It is a fun part of the job, but don't get me wrong, there is a lot of work that happens too.”

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