Pictured: Attendees from the latest aircraft accident investigation course at Cranfield University visit a Boeing 737 donated to the institution by Boeing

Cranfield University recently marked the 40th anniversary of its aircraft accident investigation course, which was first run in conjunction with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch with a two-day conference for accident investigators.

Since 1977, Cranfield has trained more than one thousand investigators using a unique combination of academic instruction, practical simulations and the experience of investigation professionals.

In 2004, Cranfield’s Safety and Accident Investigation Centre widened its scope to work with investigators from the rail and marine sectors through its ‘Fundamentals of Accident Investigation’ course and, in 2005, launched the world’s first MSc programme for air accident investigators.

In 2011, the university received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work in the field.

Today, Cranfield’s Safety and Accident Investigation Centre consists of 12 academic staff with a focus that has widened to include all aspects of multi-modal safety and accident investigation including: safety management; flight data; human factors; unmanned aerial systems; and airworthiness.

Many of the University’s former students returned for the conference to hear the latest developments in the field of accident investigation.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield University, commented, “It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces returning to Cranfield and, where for many, their careers in accident investigation took off. As well as a chance to reminisce, it was also an opportunity to hear from industry leaders and to find about how technology such as laser site scanning, computer modelling and drones are changing accident investigation.”