Course Title: Incident and Accident Investigation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Incident and Accident Investigation

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Dr Jose Silva

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8019

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 57.3.29

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will study all aspects of aircraft accident and incident investigation, and be provided with specialised expertise in this area needed by aviation professionals across different sectors (regulatory agencies, manufacturers and operators).

In the first part of the course you will focus on the regulatory framework that underpins the investigation process in an international context. You will also address some basic concepts of aviation safety management systems and its articulation with the investigation process (e.g., management of safety data and reporting systems).

In the second part of the course you will deal with basic investigation techniques, where you will be provided with multidisciplinary tools to support the investigation process from a holistic perspective. This part includes: in-situ investigation, human factors, forensic analysis (structure, propulsion systems, aircraft systems), environmental factors, operational and performance characteristics and elaboration of the final report.

Finally, you will have the opportunity to apply the investigation techniques based on case studies and simulated scenarios that will reinforce the importance of the different steps of the investigation process to achieve a successful outcome, i.e., to determine contributing factors and recommend corrective/preventive actions.  

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes (PLOs) for the following program plans:

BP070P23 / BP070VRI23 / BP070VH23 / BP070HKG23 / BP070SIM23 Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation)
BP284ASA23 Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation) / Bachelor of Business (Management)
BP345P23 Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot Training)

1. Demonstrate understanding of a broad, coherent and in-depth body of knowledge relevant to professional pilot practice and the current and future global aviation industry.

3. Formulate ethical and evidence-based responses that integrate critical thinking, problem solving and decision making to address the challenges faced in professional piloting and by the current and future global aviation industry.

4. Communicate and collaborate inclusively and professionally with diverse stakeholders across aviation and associated industries.

5. Demonstrate accountability, self-management and reflection to achieve personal and professional outcomes in real-life contexts, including actions towards reconciliation and First Nations people self-determination.

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes (PLOs) for the following program plans:

BP070P6 / BP070VRI / BP070VH / BP070HKG / BP070SIM Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation)
BP284ASADD Bachelor of Applied Science (Aviation) / Bachelor of Business (Management)
BP345 Bachelor of Aviation (Pilot Training)

Needs, context and systems
• Identify, interpret and analyse stakeholder needs, establish priorities and the goals, constraints and uncertainties of the system (social, cultural, legislative, environmental, business etc.), using systems thinking, while recognising ethical implications of professional practice.

Coordination and communication
• Communicate and coordinate proficiently by listening, speaking, reading and writing English for professional practice, working as an effective member or leader of diverse teams,
• Using basic tools and practices of formal project management.

Self management
• Manage own time and processes effectively by prioritising competing demands to achieve personal and team goals, with regular review of personal performance as a primary means of managing continuing professional development.

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Interpret and apply relevant regulations and other legal information issued by international authorities in the context of aircraft accident investigations;
  2. Identify and use different techniques to collect and manage safety data pertinent to the investigation process (e.g., reporting systems, witness interviews, flight data recorders, in-situ evidence preservation and collection);
  3. Apply forensic techniques to determine possible failures or ruin mechanisms contributing to the accident (structure, engines and systems);
  4. Characterise the main environmental factors (e.g., meteorologic phenomena, birdstrike) and human factors (e.g., physiological, situational awareness, CRM) that may contribute to an accident;
  5. Describe the relevance of operational factors and performance characteristics as contributing factors to an accident;
  6. Discuss the different roles and accountabilities of all the stakeholders in the investigation process, observing applicable ethical and legal boundaries and promoting a synergistic and effective communication and team work between the parties;
  7. Produce a final report on an incident or accident investigation that incorporates major conclusions and recommendations;

Overview of Learning Activities

  1. Pre-recorded lectures and class discussions
  2. Case study analysis
  3. Tests
  4. Individual or group assignments 

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on the course Learning Management System platform, which is accessed through myRMIT. This can include lecture material, tutorials and references.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.


Assessment 1: Group assignment on interviewing techniques
Weighting of final grade, 25% comprising:
In-class role-play activity: 15%; 
short reflective report submission (online): 10%
This task assess the following CLOs 2 and 6

Assessment 2: Test (This assessment is a timed and timetabled assessment that students must attend on campus except for international students who are outside Australia)
Weighting of final grade: 40%
This task assess the following CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Assessment 3: Group Assignment (analysis of an accident), including report submission (online)
Weighting of final grade: 35%
This task assess the following CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7