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Air Accidents Investigation Branch

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigates air accidents in the United Kingdom. It is a branch of the Department for Transport and is based at Farnborough Airfield in Farnborough, Hampshire.


The AAIB was established in 1915 as the Accidents Investigation Branch (AIB) of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Captain C B Cockburn was appointed "Inspector of Accidents" for the RFC, reporting directly to the Director General of Military Aeronautics in the War Office.

After the end of World War I, the Department of Civil Aviation was set up in the Air Ministry and the AIB became part of that Department with a remit to investigate both civil and military aviation accidents.

Following the Second World War a Ministry of Civil Aviation was established and in 1946 the AIB was transferred to it, but continued to assist the Royal Air Force with accident investigations - a situation which has continued ever since.

After working under various parent Ministries the AIB moved to the then Department of Transport in 1983 and in November 1987 its name was changed to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). Latterly, the AAIB has become part of the reorganised Department for Transport (DfT) since 2002.


The AAIB has 53 employees.

These are:

  • Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
  • Deputy Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
  • 5 teams of Inspectors from all disciplines led by a Principal Inspector

AAIB Inspectors fall into one of three categories:

  • Operations Inspector - must hold a current Airline Transport Pilots Licence with a valid Class I medical certificate. Able to offer appropriate command experience on fixed wing aircraft or helicopters. Broad based knowledge of aviation.
  • Engineering Inspector - must hold an Engineering degree and/or be a Chartered Engineer with a minimum of 5 years' post qualifications experience. Knowledge and experience of modern aircraft control systems.
  • Flight Recorder Inspector - degree level in electronics/electrical engineering or an aeronautical engineering related subject and/or is a chartered member of a relevant engineering institute with 8 years' experience since qualifying. Knowledge and experience of modern avionics.

There is also a Head of Administration who is supported by two teams, the Office Management Unit and the Information Unit, which deal with Finance and Publications.

AAIB administrative staff are part of the Department for Transport (DfT) and are recruited according to civil service guidelines.


The AAIB conducts investigations defined under one of two categories; "Accident" or "Serious Incident".

An "Accident" occurs where a person suffers a fatal or serious injury, the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure which adversely affects its performance, or where the aircraft is missing or inaccessible.

A "Serious Incident" means an incident where an accident nearly occurred.

Air disasters

The AAIB has investigated the following air disasters:

See also

External links

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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