Aviation Aircraft Investigation

Nevertheless, aviation accidents do occur. Between 1999 and 2008 there were 370 aviation accidents, resulting in 4,970 fatalities. Commercial passenger airlines are the least likely of all flights to be involved in an accident (www.1001crash.com).
The causes for aviation accidents are varied, but can be categorized into three groups: the physical environment, mechanical failure and human error. Specific issues within each of these three groups are the root cause for all aviation-related accidents.
Accidents caused by the physical environment occur from Mother Nature herself. Things such as lightening, wind, ice, rain, etc. are all physical causes. In these cases, it is important for accident investigators to rule out any human error when reacting to physical causes. An airplane sliding off of an icy runway would be one example of an accident caused purely by the physical environment. There is nothing a flight crew could do in this situation to avoid it.
Mechanical failure is the next category of accidents. Examples of mechanical failure include complete engine shut down, rudder failure, wheel structure malfunction, etc. Again, there has to be care taken to ensure that human error is not at play in mechanical failure. Investigators have to research carefully to make certain that the failure was completely related to the physical part of the equipment and not the maintenance or lack of. Over the past 20 years, accidents relating to mechanical failures have been steadily declining when compared to other accident causes. Accidents caused by mechanical issues are easier to determine and fix as compared to human errors and the physical environment. When there is a mechanical error, it can be analyzed and improvements can be made in the mechanical structure to avoid the same problem happening again. This isn’t the case for human error (Wiegmann &amp. Shappell, 1997).
The remainder of this paper will focus