Ronald "Ron" Chippindale (26 March 1933 – 12 February 2008) was the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents in charge of the New Zealand Office of Air Accidents Investigations.
Chippindale was a pilot for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) from 1951 to 1974, flying transport and training aircraft. He was a qualified flight instructor and spent over eight years in Defence Flight Safety before retiring (as a squadron leader) after 23 years of service. He was a graduate of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
On retirement from the RNZAF, Chippindale was appointed as an Inspector of Air Accidents in 1974 and in 1975 became Chief Inspector of Air Accidents in charge of the New Zealand Office of Air Accidents Investigations.
When the Office was abolished in 1990, he was appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Inspector of Air Accidents in the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC), which replaced the Office of Air Accidents Investigation.
In 1992, when a Chief Executive was appointed, Chippindale became the Chief Inspector of Accidents with the TAIC, an appointment he retained until his retirement on 31 October 1998.
During this time period, he was the Investigator-in-Charge of 48 aircraft and rail accidents and incidents, and had overall responsibility for the investigation of approximately 400 accidents and incidents. He was involved in several major aircraft accident investigation such as being the chief investigator of the Mount Erebus Disaster, the DC-10 accident in Antarctica in which 257 lives were lost.
He was a member of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) teams, which investigated the Mozambican Tupolev Tu-134 air disaster in South Africa in which the President of Mozambique lost his life, and the shooting down of three civil aircraft: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over Russia and two United Nations (UN) L-130 aircraft in Angola.
Chippindale has represented New Zealand at Accident Investigation Group meetings of ICAO and drafted the ICAO circular on the provision of "Family Assistance" after an aircraft accident. He was also the New Zealand Councillor to the International Society of Air Accident Investigators and a transport accident investigation consultant.
In 2004, Chippindale was awarded the 'Jerome F Lederer' award for outstanding lifetime contributions in the field of aircraft accident investigation and prevention and achievement of the International society of Air Safety Investigators' Objectives and technical excellence. In March 2007, Chippindale was one of 22 people who received a New Zealand Special Service Medal (Erebus) at a ceremony in Wellington. The medal was awarded for the work in what became known as "Operation Overdue".
Until his death, he was an adjunct lecturer teaching 'Aircraft Safety Investigations' in a 3 paper series extramurally (by correspondence) at Massey University School of Aviation.
- Massey University, Air Safety Investigations Handbook by Mr. R. Chippindale
- "Erebus investigator killed in crash". The New Zealand Herald. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2011.