Aircraft Accident Investigation (AAI)

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Course Description

The course is designed for individuals who have limited investigation experience. All aspects of the investigation process are addressed, starting with preparation for the investigation through writing the final report. It covers National Transportation Safety Board and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) procedures. Investigative techniques are examined with emphasis on fixed wing investigation. Data collection, wreckage reconstruction and cause analysis are discussed in the classroom and applied in the lab.

The USC Aircraft Accident Investigation lab serves as the location for practical exercises. Thirteen aircraft wreckages form the basis of these investigative exercises. The crash laboratory gives the student an opportunity to learn the observation and documentation skills required of accident investigators. The wreckage is examined and reviewed with investigators who have extensive actual real-world investigation experience. Examination techniques and methods are demonstrated along with participative group discussions of actual wreckage examination, reviews of witness interview information, and investigation group personal dynamics discussions.

Objectives: To provide concepts and practical techniques on aircraft investigation methodology, and prepare an individual to participate in an aircraft accident investigation.

Who Should Attend: Persons associated with aircraft accident investigation including manufacturers, operators, associations, insurers, air carriers, government agencies, law enforcement and military.

  • Courses
    AAI 20-1
    AAI 20-2
    AAI 20-3
    AAI 20-4
    AAI 21-1
    AAI 21-2
  • Dates
    23 Sept. – 04 Oct. 2019
    09-20 Dec. 2019
    27 Jan. – 07 Feb. 2020
    27 Apr. – 08 May 2020
    28 Sept. – 09 Oct. 2020
    07-18 Dec. 2020

Course Outline

  1. Investigations
    • Introduction and History
    • Authority and Theory
    • Principles of Investigation
    • Initial Actions
    • Site Safety
    • On-Scene Investigation Procedures
    • Investigation of Aircraft Fires
    • Reciprocating Engines and Propellers
    • Gas Turbine Engines
    • Systems Investigation
    • In-flight Breakup and Midair Collisions
    • Technical Assistance
    • Analysis and Report Writing
    • Flight Data Recorders
    • Cockpit Voice Recorders
  2. Technology
    • Types of Material Failures
    • Metal and Composite Materials
    • Identifying Failures in the Field
    • Understanding Aircraft Stability
    • Aerodynamics — Accident Cause or Contributor
  3. Human and Biomedical Factors
    • Human Factors
    • Casualty Identification
    • Aeromedical Role in Investigation
  4. Accident Investigation (conducted in a separate facility with actual wreckage)
    • Wreckage Observation/Familiarization
    • Wreckage Examination/Documentation
    • Investigation Organization at Accident Site
    • Accident Site Hazards and Safety
    • Investigative Group Interactions

CEU: 6.7

Course Duration: 9.5 Days

Tuition: $3500 (July 2018 - June 2019); $3625 (July 2019 - June 2020); TBD (July 2020 - June 2021)