Cranfield’s accident investigation laboratory supports the work that is carried out in the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre. The laboratory is unique in teaching establishments outside of the United States and complements our renowned full-scale field exercises.

It provides a realistic multi-modal safety and accident investigation training environment for trainee investigators. The laboratory features real life air, rail and marine accident exhibits and a formal classroom environment to facilitate a synergy between the theory and practice of effective safety and accident investigation training.

Using the facility

The laboratory is used by delegates on our MSc programmes and short courses, allowing accident investigators to gain hands-on experience of dealing with real evidence such as pieces of wreckage. This is part of a wider programme involving the realistic simulation of accidents.

The facilities have been used for predicting the break-up sequence of an aeroplane, which is an important part of aircraft accident investigation. We have led an industry project developing software tools to analyse the trajectory of pieces of wreckage which can fall from aeroplanes during an incident.

Some of the unique exhibits include:

  • An accident-damaged Alstom Pendolino rail carriage,
  • A small fishing boat, ‘Pisces’.