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Air Accidents Investigation Branch

Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Agency overview
Formed 1915
Jurisdiction UK and overseas territories
Employees 49
Agency executive
  • Keith Conradi, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
Parent department Department for Transport

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigates air accidents in the United Kingdom. There are three categories of inspector: Operations Inspector, a pilot with command experience; Engineering inspector, with expertise in aircraft control systems; Flight Recorder Inspector, with experience in avionics. The AAIB is a branch of the Department for Transport and is based in the grounds of Farnborough Airport, Hampshire.


  • History 1
  • Organisation 2
  • Investigations 3
  • Headquarters 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Aviation accident investigation in the United Kingdom started in 1912,[1] when the Royal Aero Club published a report into a fatal accident at Brooklands Aerodrome, Surrey.[2]

The AAIB was established in 1915 as the Accidents Investigation Branch (AIB) of the Captain G B Cockburn[3] was appointed "Inspector of Accidents" for the RFC, reporting directly to the Director General of Military Aeronautics in the War Office.[4][5]

After the end of the First World War, 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.[6]

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

  • 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

External links

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Brooklands accident". Flight (8 June 1912): p513. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  3. ^ , 27 October 1916The London Gazette
  4. ^ , 7 January 1918Supplement to the London Gazette
  5. ^ , page 72, Arno Press, ISBN 0-405-03783-XThe Old Flying DaysTurner, Charles Cyril (1972)
  6. ^ , Hansard, 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc914-5WRoute to Egypt Losses Enquiry
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ a b "Welcome to the Website of the AAIB". AAIB. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "AAIB Organisation". Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Additional information." Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 2 May 2010. "Air Accidents Investigation Branch Farnborough House Berkshire Copse Road Aldershot Hampshire GU11 2HH"
  11. ^ a b "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)."
  12. ^ "Department for Transport travel plan: Annexes." Department for Transport. Retrieved on 19 October 2010. "They are based at Farnborough House, Berkshire CopseRoad, Aldershot, Hants."
  13. ^ "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."
  14. ^ a b c "Key sites background document." Rushmoor Borough Council. 16 (18/24). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Rushmoor Local Plan Review (1996-2011)." Rushmoor Borough Council. 126 (2/39). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  16. ^ "air accident investigation branch (aaib)." (Archive) Lana Design. Retrieved on 19 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Rushmoor Local Plan Review (1996-2011)." Rushmoor Borough Council. 156 (32/39). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  18. ^ "REPORT NO.PLN0465 SECTION C." Borough of Rushmoor. 20 October 2004. 33 (2/6). Retrieved on 30 September 2010.
  19. ^ 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"


See also

Previously the AAIB head office was in Kingsgate House, Victoria Street and before that in Shell Mex House on the Strand in the City of Westminster, London.[19]

The AAIB site is south of the airfield and east of the Puckeridge Ammunition Depot,[14] and it is located near the Basingstoke Canal.[17] 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.[14] The Borough of Rushmoor stated that the AAIB complex "requires a secluded" and "secure" location due to "the nature of its operation."[18]

A sub-branch of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch is being built on the site and will be occupied by RAIB staff from September 2012.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has its head office in the Farnborough House,[10] a building that is a part of a compound within the boundary of Farnborough Airport,[11] located between Aldershot[10][12] and Farnborough.[13] The approximately 1.75-hectare (4.3-acre) head office site, which houses three large buildings and car park facilities,[14] is in a lightly wooded area south of the main runway of Farnborough Airport.[15] The buildings at the AAIB site include an (as of 2005) L-shaped, two storey flat roof office building and a hangar.[11] 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.[16]

Sign leading to the entrance of Farnborough House, the AAIB head office
AAIB head office


The AAIB is responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK and its overseas territories.[8]

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.


AAIB administrative staff are part of the Department for Transport (DfT) and are recruited according to civil service guidelines.

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.

  • Operations Inspector - must hold a current Airline Transport Pilot 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.

AAIB Inspectors fall into one of three categories:

  • Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
  • Deputy Chief Inspector of Air Accidents
  • 6 teams of Inspectors from all disciplines led by a Principal Inspector

These are:

The AAIB has 49 employees.[9]


since 2002. [8]

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