Air Accidents Investigation Branch
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 on the grounds of Farnborough Airport in Farnborough, Hampshire.
The AAIB was established in 1915 as the Accidents Investigation Branch (AIB) of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). Captain G 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, including the Department of Trade, 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 49 employees.
- Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
- Deputy Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
- 6 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 Inspector Support Unit (ISU) who provide administrative support to the Principal Inspectors and their teams and the Information Unit (IU), who are the first port of call for accidents being reported.
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.
A partial list of accidents and incidents investigated by the AAIB:
- The crash of the R101 airship
- Star Tiger
- Star Ariel
- Munich air disaster, an Airspeed Ambassador crashed attempting take-off during a blizzard.
- BOAC Flight 781, the de Havilland Comet that crashed off of Elba and led to the discovery of the Comet's metal fatigue problems.
- South African Airways Flight 201, a second Comet brought down by metal fatigue.
- Staines air disaster, a Hawker Siddeley Trident stalled and crashed shortly after takeoff.
- Sikorsky S-61 disaster, a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter crashed into the sea off the Isles of Scilly, sparking a review of helicopter safety.
- Manchester air disaster, a Boeing 737 caught fire on the ground after an engine failure.
- Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747, crashed near Lockerbie, Scotland after a terrorist bomb exploded on board. All 259 people on board, plus several on the ground, were killed. The incident became known as the Lockerbie air disaster.
- Kegworth air disaster, a Boeing 737 crashed on the embankment of Britain's M1 motorway after an engine failure.
- British Airways Flight 5390, a BAC One-Eleven, suffered explosive decompression when one of the front windscreen panes blew out, blowing the pilot partially out of the cockpit. The co-pilot managed to land the aircraft safely at Southampton Airport.
- Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509, a Boeing 747 which crashed at Stansted Airport, killing all four crew members.
- British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777, which crash-landed short of runway 27L at London Heathrow Airport.
- Ross Air VP-BGE, a Cessna Citation aircraft that crashed in Farnborough, London shortly after take-off from Biggin Hill Airport.
- Porthcawl Mid-Air Collision, two Grob Tutors collided over the town of Porthcawl in South Wales (it is a three way investigation).
- FlyMontserrat Flight 107, a Britten-Norman Islander, crashed shortly after take off from V. C. Bird International Airport, Antigua
- 2013 Vauxhall helicopter crash, a AgustaWestland AW109 crashed into a London street after colliding with an construction crane attached to St George Wharf Tower.
- 2013 Glasgow helicopter crash, a police Eurocopter EC135 crashed into a pub in Glasgow.
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 a Boeing 777 which is likely to have crashed into the Indian Ocean on 8 March 2014, and thought to have killed all 239 passengers and crew on board. The plane is currently deemed missing.
- Haughey Air AgustaWestland AW139 crash a AgustaWestland AW139 crashed shorly after take off from Gillingham, Norfolk, killing all four on board.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has its head office in the Farnborough House, a building that is a part of a compound within the boundary of Farnborough Airport, located between Aldershot and Farnborough. The approximately 1.75-hectare (4.3-acre) head office site, which houses three large buildings and car park facilities, is in a lightly wooded area south of the main runway of Farnborough Airport. The buildings at the AAIB site include an (as of 2005) L-shaped, two storey flat roof office building and a hangar. The original buildings were from the 1970s. Lana Design supervised the construction of a 4,700-square-metre (51,000 sq ft) two storey new addition to the main building. It includes offices, acoustic laboratories, and a lecture theatre. The addition had a cost of 2.6 million pounds.
The AAIB site is south of the airfield and east of the Puckeridge Ammunition Depot, and it is located near the Basingstoke Canal. Cove Brook, about 155 metres (509 ft) south of the AAIB head office, runs from the northwest to the southeast. The AAIB head office is accessible from Berkshire Copse Road, which dissects through the length of the AAIB head office site. The Borough of Rushmoor stated that the AAIB complex "requires a secluded" and "secure" location due to "the nature of its operation."
- Air safety
- List of accidents and incidents involving military aircraft
- List of accidents and incidents involving general aviation
- Marine Accident Investigation Branch
- Hradecky, Simon (8 June 2012). "United Kingdom's Air Accident Investigation Board celebrates 100 years of air accident investigation". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- "Brooklands accident". Flight (8 June 1912): p513. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- The London Gazette, 27 October 1916
- Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 January 1918
- Turner, Charles Cyril (1972) The Old Flying Days, page 72, Arno Press, ISBN 0-405-03783-X
- Route to Egypt Losses Enquiry, Hansard, 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc914-5W
- "Turkish Airlines DC-10 TC-JAV Report on the accident in the Ermenonville Forest, France on 3 March 1974." (Archive) Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 29 April 2012.
- "AAIB Organisation". Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Additional information." Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 2 May 2010. "Air Accidents Investigation Branch Farnborough House Berkshire Copse Road Aldershot Hampshire GU11 2HH"
- "DIRECTORATE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES REPORT NO.PLN0548 SECTION C." Rushmoor Borough Council. 20 July 2005. Retrieved on 19 October 2010. "The site is to the north of the Basingstoke Canal and comprises a separate compound within the Farnborough Airport boundary, adjoining its southern end. The land is occupied by a number of structures including a large hangar and a two storey flat roofed office building with an L-shaped footprint, together with areas of hard surfacing, used by the Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB)."
- "Department for Transport travel plan: Annexes." Department for Transport. Retrieved on 19 October 2010. "They are based at Farnborough House, Berkshire CopseRoad, Aldershot, Hants."
- "The AAIB interim report." BBC. Friday 24 December 1999. Retrieved on 30 September 2010. "The cockpit voice recorder was recovered from the wreckage and was successfully replayed at the AAIB headquarters at Farnborough."
- "Key sites background document." Rushmoor Borough Council. 16 (18/24). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
- "Rushmoor Local Plan Review (1996-2011)." Rushmoor Borough Council. 126 (2/39). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
- "air accident investigation branch (aaib)." (Archive) Lana Design. Retrieved on 19 September 2012.
- "Rushmoor Local Plan Review (1996-2011)." Rushmoor Borough Council. 156 (32/39). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
- "REPORT NO.PLN0465 SECTION C." Borough of Rushmoor. 20 October 2004. 33 (2/6). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
- Final report (Archive) Swiss Federal Department of Transport and Power - Translated by the Department of Trade Accidents Investigation Branch. p. 3. Retrieved on 12 May 2012. "Accidents Investigation Branch Department of Trade Shell Mex House Strand, London WC2R 0DP"
- Air Accidents Investigation Branch
- Air Accidents Investigation Branch (Archive)
- "Accident Investigation" a 1951 Flight article
- "Accident Investigation" a 1985 Flight article
- "A Matter of Judgement" a 1987 Flight article
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