Professor David King from Cranfield University Aircraft Accident Investigation has been honoured with a coveted International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA) award.

John Saull, Executive Director of IFA presented Professor King, a visiting professor at the University, with the award at the Royal Aeronautical Society ‘Human Factors in Engineering’ event hosted at Cranfield this week.

Awarded annually, the award recognises an outstanding contribution to air safety at an international level to a group or individual nominated by an IFA member. David has been acknowledged for his work on human performance associated with accidents and furthering actions to reduce human errors.

Professor King said: "It is an honour to be proposed and selected to receive the International Federation of Airworthiness, Whittle Safety Award and so be considered fit to join the list of previous recipients, containing as it does such prestigious names, individuals who have and continue to have a positive influence on air safety.”

Professor King has devoted his long career to the safety of aviation, starting as an aeronautical engineer before joining the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in 1972, rising to the position of Chief Inspector, taking specific interest in aircraft maintenance human factors. During this time he worked on many major accidents, but will be especially remembered for is his contribution to the investigation of human performance, particularly in the aircraft maintenance environment.

Through the investigations in which he participated and led, he made a significant contribution to the understanding of human error and the role of investigators, regulators, manufacturers, maintainers and operators in trapping or managing such errors, particularly within the engineering and maintenance areas.

He has always placed a strong emphasis on education. He is the only person to have taught on the Cranfield University Aircraft Accident Investigation course since its inception in 1977. He is now a Visiting Professor of the University and continues to teach regularly.

The IFA is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) dedicated to improving aviation safety by increasing international communication, awareness and cooperation on all airworthiness issues and particularly that of continuing airworthiness.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Transport Systems at Cranfield

Cranfield has over 50 years’ experience in transport, including the aviation, automotive, motorsport, military and marine sectors.

We are the only university in Europe to own and run an airport and to have airline status.

Our education and award-winning research covers all modes of vehicles and transport across technology, engineering and management, including sustainable transport and intelligent mobility.

In an increasingly interconnected world, we specialise in understanding the whole environment in which transport operates: the vehicles, infrastructure, businesses and logistics, as well as the human aspects of operating, managing and using transport.

Our world-class facilities include high-performance wind tunnels, an off-road vehicle dynamics facility, a crash impact test centre (one of just three FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) approved test centres in the world) and our Accident Investigation Laboratory, which is dedicated to our work in aviation, marine and rail safety and the only accident investigation laboratory of its type outside the United States. We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world-leading work in aviation safety through research and training in air accident investigation in 2011.

Completed in 2017, our latest facility, the Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation, is a £19 million ‘smart’ roadway test environment for the development of intelligent and autonomous vehicles, making it a UK first. It includes the associated systems needed to integrate emerging technologies into our day-to-day lives.

A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre will also be built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology, and a new state-of-the-art digital control tower, which replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed using HD cameras and sensors, is being installed at Cranfield Airport.