An Aircraft Accident Investigation: Revisited
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Aircraft accidents are usually complex, and hence their investigation requires expertise from several fields. The challenge for an investigating team is to analyze the bits and pieces of information gathered in the course of the investigation through background information, interrogation, and material evidence and stitch them into a descriptive picture to arrive at the possible cause(s) of the accident. During this process, the investigating team is extremely dependent on laboratories where failed components/structures are subjected to detailed study. The laboratory findings are the decisive factors in ensuring a successful investigation. Any mistakes committed at this stage can, apart from wasteful work, lead to confusion and wrong direction of investigation. This paper presents an investigation that in the author’s opinion should have been conclusive, but remained inconclusive. The shortcomings in the investigation are discussed.
KeywordsAircraft Accident Investigation Challenges Shortcomings
The author thanks Dr. T.G. Ramesh, Head, Materials Science Division and Dr. A.R. Upadhya, Director, NAL for granting permission to publish this paper. The author acknowledges various organizations for providing input pertaining to the investigation presented in this article. Thanks are due to Dr. A.C. Raghuram, Dr. R.V. Krishnan, Dr. V. Ramachandran, Dr. A.K. Singh, Mr. M.A. Venkataswamy, and Dr. M. Sujata for fruitful discussions on the subject.