About us

What we do

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigates civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK, its overseas territories and crown dependencies.

We also provide assistance and expertise to international air accident investigations and organisations.

Our purpose is to improve aviation safety globally by determining the causes of air accidents and serious incidents, and making safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence. It is not to apportion blame or liability.

AAIB video

Who we are

AAIB has its origins in the Accidents Investigation Branch of the Royal Flying Corps, founded in 1915. We’re now an independent unit within the Department for Transport.

The Chief Inspector of Air Accidents reports directly to the Secretary of State for Transport on air safety matters.

There are 6 teams of inspectors, each led by a principal inspector. The teams are made up of operations inspectors, engineering inspectors and flight data recorder inspectors.

There’s more about the inspectors’ experience and their duties in our ‘Working for us’ section.

AAIB organisation chart

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Our responsibilities

Our work includes:

  • responding quickly to air accidents and serious incidents

  • leading and managing the investigation team while ensuring their safety at the accident location

  • conducting thorough, independent, impartial and timely investigations into air accidents and serious incidents

  • producing reports that explain the circumstances and causes of accidents and serious incidents, without attributing blame

  • ensuring we follow the International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13 and UK statutory obligations for the investigation of air accidents

  • providing assistance and expertise to international air accident investigations and organisations

  • improving aviation safety in general through education and sharing the lessons learnt from accident investigations

  • treating the survivors and relatives of air accident victims sympathetically, helping them understand what happened and what’s being done to prevent future accidents

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