Aircraft Accident Investigation

  • 12 January - 20 February 2015,
11 May - 19 June 2015
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Location: Cranfield campus
  • The Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre presents its world-renowned six-week Aircraft Accident Investigation course. The course content has been carefully developed in close collaboration with the accident investigation community and with the endorsement of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Board.

    The course brings together the considerable expertise and experience of investigators, operators and researchers to deliver a level of training that is world-class. The close relationship that has existed with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) since the first course ran in 1977, has been enhanced since 2004 by collaboration with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) as well as organisations including BFU Germany, Kent Police College, Rolls-Royce and Airbus. 

    The course also features major case studies together with practical exercises including a week-long investigation simulation, powerplants investigation workshop with Rolls-Royce and an investigation management exercise. Visits to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Military Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch and QinetiQ at Farnborough are also included.

    Course objectives

    In order to deliver a balanced training experience, the first 3 weeks of the course focuses on the fundamental skills required of an accident investigator by drawing upon the experiences of air, marine and rail transport investigators. The remaining 3 weeks concentrate on applying techniques to the specialised aspects of aircraft operations and includes a week-long simulated accident investigation where delegates can apply the new skills learned.

    Course topics

    The six week course has two key modules:

    Module 1 – Fundamentals of Accident Investigation

    • Legislation and Regulation
    • Appraisal of the Accident Site
    • Disaster Response
    • Recovery of Wreckage
    • Collection of Evidence
    • Accident Photography
    • Hazards Management on Site
    • Wreckage Recovery
    • Interviewing Techniques
    • Structures and Crashworthiness
    • Human Factors for Investigators
    • Media Management
    • Accident Pathology
    • Data Recorders and their Analysis
    • Analytical Techniques
    • Systemic Approach to Investigation
    • Managing Investigations
    • Liaising with Victims and their Families
    • Relations with the Regulator/Interested Parties
    • Developing and Managing Recommendations
    • Report Writing
    • Follow-Up Actions
    • Court Procedures for Investigators

    Module 2 – Applied Aircraft Accident Investigation

    • Aircraft Structures
    • In-Flight Breakup and Flight Path Analysis
    • Helicopter Accidents
    • Light Aircraft Accidents
    • Investigation of Military Aircraft Accidents
    • Aircraft Systems, Wiring, Engines and Fuels
    • Powerplant Investigations

    • Maintenance Investigations
    • Cabin Safety Investigations
    • Fires Sabotage and Explosives
    • Advanced Investigation Management
    • Air Traffic Control Investigations
    • Advanced Human Factors
    • The Manufacturer’s View
    • Overseas Investigation Experiences
    • Advanced Analysis

    Upgrade to a professional qualification

    Successful completion of the course assessment will lead to a certificate which can be used towards our postgraduate programme in Safety and Accident Investigation .

    Who should attend

    The course is designed for those who may have to conduct or participate in an aircraft accident investigation. This may be in the role of official investigator for a State or as an accredited representative/technical advisor of a manufacturer, operator or service provider. Although the main focus of the course is the civil aviation industry, there is also considerable value for military personnel and there is always a significant military presence on the course.

    Course delegates typically are fixed or rotary-wing pilots, engineers, safety specialists, air traffic controllers, human performance specialists and state accident investigators. All lectures and workshops will be in English and those without a thorough knowledge of English would be at a severe disadvantage. There are no formal qualifications for entry, but course numbers are limited and courses are often oversubscribed.


    One of the strengths of this course is that we bring together a world-class group of experts to share their experiences. This includes Inspectors of Accidents from the AAIB, MAIB and RAIB. We are also proud to feature experts from a range of areas vital to the process of accident investigation. These include specialists in:

    •     Accident investigation outside the UK
    •     Aeronautical Engineering
    •     Air Traffic Control
    •     Aircraft Manufacture
    •     Aviation Law and Court Procedures
    •     Aviation Psychology
    •     Aviation Pathology
    •     Investigative Interviewing
    •     Disaster Management and Family Assistance
    •     Media Relations
    •     Military Accident Investigation
    •     Safety Regulation
    •     Safety Management Systems
    •     Research and Development.

    Course delivery

    The course features lectures, tutorials and practical training, including a 3-day simulation of a transport accident investigation.

    Course fee

    Location and travel details

    Cranfield campus

    Cranfield University is located at the very heart of the UK – within the innovation triangle between London and the cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

    • Road: We are just 10 minutes from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1 motorway. There is free parking on campus.
    • Rail: Milton Keynes or Bedford
    • Air: London Luton (22 miles), Heathrow (50 miles) or Birmingham (70 miles).


    Category: Accident

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