Aviation Accident Investigation Training
In civil aviation, investigating aircraft accidents is the responsibility of the National Transportation Safety Board (in the United States) or a similar government agency in any country that is a signatory to the ICAO Conventions. Nonetheless, under ICAO Annex 13 and in the US CFR Part 830, every operator of a civil aircraft has certain responsibilities in the event of an accident or incident. These responsibilities include proper reporting, preservation of evidence, and support of the investigation team. In addition, agencies or organizations actively involved in the accident may be invited by the NTSB to participate in the investigation. This would include the operator, airframe and engine manufacturers, and other technical experts. To be qualified to join the investigation, invited participants must have the technical expertise to support the investigation as well as an understanding of the accident investigation process in order to provide accurate and timely support.
These are the regulatory reasons for understanding the aircraft accident investigation process and techniques. There is also another very important reason for understanding accident investigation. The NTSB and the FAA only become involved in those events (accident or incidents) that are reportable under Federal Regulations. But, many events occur that are not reportable which under slightly different circumstances could easily have been an accident and reportable. An effective aviation safety program must be able to identify, investigate, and correct the factors that create near accidents so that a real accident can be prevented.