Please note that the course running in June 2024 is now fully booked. Please register for the other available dates or get in touch with the Short Course Team.

The Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre presents its world-renowned six-week Aircraft Accident Investigation course. The course content has been carefully developed in close collaboration with the accident investigation community and with the endorsement of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Board.

The course brings together the considerable expertise and experience of investigators, operators and researchers to deliver a level of training that is world-class. The close relationship that has existed with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) since the first course ran in 1977, has been enhanced since 2004 by collaboration with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) as well as organisations including BFU Germany, Kent Police College, Rolls-Royce and Airbus. 

The course also features major case studies together with practical exercises including a week-long investigation simulation, powerplants investigation workshop with Rolls-Royce and an investigation management exercise. Visits to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Military Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch and QinetiQ at Farnborough are also included.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 09 Sep - 18 Oct 2024
  • DurationSix weeks
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£12,130
    The course fee includes refreshments and lunch during the day. Accommodation is not included and must be booked separately. Concessions available

Course structure

The course features lectures, tutorials and practical training, including a 3-day simulation of a transport accident investigation.

What you will learn

In order to deliver a balanced training experience, the first three weeks of the course focuses on the fundamental skills required of an accident investigator by drawing upon the experiences of air, marine and rail transport investigators. The remaining three weeks concentrate on applying techniques to the specialised aspects of aircraft operations and includes a week-long simulated accident investigation where delegates can apply the new skills learned.

Core content

The six week course has two key modules:

Module 1 – Fundamentals of Accident Investigation

  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Appraisal of the Accident Site
  • Disaster Response
  • Recovery of Wreckage
  • Collection of Evidence
  • Accident Photography
  • Hazards Management on Site
  • Wreckage Recovery
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Structures and Crashworthiness
  • Human Factors for Investigators
  • Media Management
  • Accident Pathology
  • Data Recorders and their Analysis
  • Analytical Techniques
  • Systemic Approach to Investigation
  • Managing Investigations
  • Liaising with Victims and their Families
  • Relations with the Regulator/Interested Parties
  • Developing and Managing Recommendations
  • Report Writing
  • Follow-Up Actions
  • Court Procedures for Investigators

Module 2 – Applied Aircraft Accident Investigation

  • Management of complex investigations
  • Investigation of military aircraft accidents
  • Investigating operational accidents
  • Investigating technical accidents
  • Air Traffic Control investigations
  • Cabin safety investigations
  • Investigation of aircraft structural failures
  • Aircraft powerplant investigations
  • Investigating with recorded data
  • Investigating survivability
  • Impact and flight path assessment
  • Aviation operational and engineering human factors
  • Enhanced interview techniques
  • Applied analysis methods
  • Working with State-accredited representatives
  • Working with the regulator
  • A major manufacturer’s perspective
  • Five-day accident simulation exercise
  • Working with the media
  • ICAO annex 13 report writing
  • Visit to UK AAIB and UK Defence AIB
  • State Director / Chief Inspector of Air Accidents' perspective

Upgrade to a professional qualification

All of the short courses within the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre are available as standalone courses. Our postgraduate programme in Safety and Accident Investigation allows you to combine many of our courses towards a part-time postgraduate qualification.

Structure of accident investication course

Who should attend

The course is designed for those who may have to conduct or participate in an aircraft accident investigation. This may be in the role of official investigator for a State or as an accredited representative/technical advisor of a manufacturer, operator or service provider. Although the main focus of the course is the civil aviation industry, there is also considerable value for military personnel and there is always a significant military presence on the course.

Course delegates typically are fixed or rotary-wing pilots, engineers, safety specialists, air traffic controllers, human performance specialists and state accident investigators. All lectures and workshops will be in English and those without a thorough knowledge of English would be at a severe disadvantage. There are no formal qualifications for entry, but course numbers are limited and courses are often oversubscribed.


One of the strengths of this course is that we bring together a world-class group of experts to share their experiences. This includes Inspectors of Accidents from the AAIB, MAIB and RAIB. We are also proud to feature experts from a range of areas vital to the process of accident investigation. These include specialists in:

  • Accident investigation outside the UK
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Aircraft manufacture
  • Aviation law and court procedures
  • Aviation psychology
  • Investigative interviewing
  • Disaster management and family assistance
  • Media relations
  • Military accident investigation
  • Safety regulation
  • Safety Management Systems
  • Research and development.


Group discount: Where three delegates or more are booking from within one site or one organisation, a discount of 10% will apply to the invoice for the course tuition fee. Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis Monday to Fridays and on a full-board basis on a Saturday and Sunday during the course. The cost of this package is £4,960. 

If you would like to book our accommodation package for this short course*, please indicate this on your registration form.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

*Subject to availability. 

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details.

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.