Understanding and Supporting Aircraft Accident Investigation and Reconstruction
I.D. # C1143 Duration 2 Days

Aircraft accident and incident investigations should be supported by all engineering disciplines and departments involved with design, manufacturing, certification, and field operations. For individuals called upon to serve as advisors or technical representatives to official aircraft accident investigation (AAI) teams, an understanding of aircraft accident investigation and reconstruction methodology and processes is critical to success in this supportive role.

This two-day seminar will begin with the basic requirements for conducting proper accident investigations, including investigative philosophies and procedures. The instructor will then guide participants through various data gathering methods and cover several specific types of accident investigations including those related to human factors, crashworthiness, inflight breakups, and mid-air collisions. Presentations are based on actual accidents and real-life investigation experiences and accident investigation case studies are integrated throughout the course to provide participants the knowledge required to effectively support aircraft accident investigation and reconstruction.

Learning Objectives

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key requirements and steps in the AAI process.
  • Identify and evaluate analytical procedures used in an AAI.
  • Identify and analyze potential complications that arise during an AAI.
  • Construct and contribute analysis in support of an AAI.

Who Should Attend
This course will benefit individuals seeking a fundamental understanding of the aircraft accident investigation and reconstruction process, particularly engineers within the aerospace industries that may be called upon to serve in a supportive role as a technical advisor to an official aircraft accident investigation team.
Participants should have an aviation related technical background and at least a general understanding of the aviation industry.
Seminar Content

Day One

  • Introduction
  • Investigative Attitudes and Behaviors
  • Approach to an Investigation

    • Simple vs complex
    • Collecting evidence
    • Reconstructing evidence

  • Basic Analytical Procedures

    • Intuitive methods
    • Formal methods

  • Results of Incomplete Investigation Processes
  • Human Factors Analysis

    • G-load tolerance
    • Recoginition and reaction time
    • Spatial and situational disorientation
    • Visual illusions
    • Cockpit warnings and control issues
    • Identifying hazards
    • Technologically advanced aircraft

  • Aging Aircraft

Day Two

  • Witness Interviews
  • Photo Documentation
  • In-Flight Breakups

    • Sequence
    • Radar data
    • Trajectory analysis
    • Flutter

  • Crashworthiness and Survivability

    • Design aspects
    • Implementation
    • Impact analysis

  • Mid-Air Collisions

    • Operational/environmental aspects
    • Wreckage evaluation

  • Nine-Box Matrix Exercise
  • Wreckage Reconstruction Exercise

Note: Accident investigation case studies are integrated throughout the course.
Instructor(s): Donald F. Knutson
Over the past 20+ years, Mr. Knutson has conducted a multitude of field investigations on domestic and foreign accidents involving various models of civilian and military aircraft. He is President of Knutson Aviation Services (KAS), a consulting firm specializing in aircraft accident and incident investigations, wreckage reconstruction, airframe and powerplant system failure analysis, crashworthiness analysis, and air safety education and research. Mr. Knutson has taught graduate and continuing education courses on aircraft accident investigation for the Wichita State University (Wichita, KS) Aerospace Engineering program and Lewis University Aviation programs (Romeoville, IL). For Boeing's military operations in Wichita, he instructed engineers in basic and advanced topics on supporting U.S. Air Force crash investigations. Prior to starting KAS, Mr. Knutson was with The Boeing Company as a Flight Test Engineer where he evaluated fuel system designs and remote aerial refueling operations for the 767 Tanker program. Mr. Knutson also served as Director of Aviation for a forensics engineering firm where he provided aircraft accident investigation consulting and business development. Mr. Knutson¿s experience also includes Senior Engineer and Air Safety Investigator for the Raytheon (Beech) Aircraft Company where he was the engineering liaison between Raytheon and the NTSB, the FAA, and foreign government investigators. He served as a Designated NTSB Representative for several international accidents and helped train new air safety investigators during field investigations. He also performed airframe and powerplant (turbine and piston) system inspections, wreckage reconstruction, metallurgical examinations, and crashworthiness analysis involving survivability issues. Mr. Knutson is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. He is an FAA- certified pilot and Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (Lafayette, LA).
Fees: $1370 SAE Members*: $1096 - $1233
* The appropriate SAE Member discount will be applied through the Registration process.  Discounts vary  according to level of membership: Elite Member 20%; Premium Member 15%; Classic Member 10%
CEU 1.3