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Air accident investigator

Air accident investigators search for the causes of accidents and serious incidents, involving civilian aircraft.

Potential salary

£72,500 to £82,000

Employment by 2024

+3.38%

Working hours

37 to 45 a week

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your exact role but may include:

  • co-ordinating a team to respond to an incident
  • gathering and recording evidence to build a picture of what happened
  • reassembling or dismantling wreckage to look for clues
  • recovering data from flight recorders and instruments
  • using drones to survey accident sites
  • piecing together events that led to an accident
  • managing the different stages of an investigation
  • updating relatives on progress, especially in fatal accidents
  • writing accident reports
  • making safety recommendations to regulators and the industry
  • acting as an expert witness at inquests and official inquiries

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in remote rural areas, in an aircraft hangar, in a laboratory or in an office.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

If you work as an engineering or flight data recorder investigator, you could become an operations director, co-ordinating the investigation process. You could also progress to chief accident inspector.

You could use your experience to work as a consultant with aerospace manufacturers, safety regulators or aviation industry insurance companies.

You can find out more about how to become an investigator from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

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