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Enhancing Mishap Investigation Skills

CWOB / By CW5 Michael R. Jewett: AR 385-10 directs that all Active Army, ARNG, USAR, and DA Civilian employees will be provided the training and education to achieve the skills necessary to perform their safety related roles and responsibilities.

The “Boneyard” is a hands-on exercise where attendees conduct an accident investigation. / U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD PHOTO

The United States Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC) is the Army’s primary trainer in aviation and ground safety

The Army National Guard (ARNG) has recognized the benefits of having an enhanced accident investigation training program. This training is necessary to provide ARNG mishap investigators with advanced knowledge, skills, and ability to rapidly respond to ARNG mishaps and successfully perform all necessary functions to conduct an investigation. The ARNG has assembled a series of courses providing basic and advanced training of mishap investigation techniques in accordance with AR 385-10 and DA Pam 385-40. The Certified Accident

Investigator Program (CAIP) has been developed to train these techniques. This program consists of five courses:

  • NTSB Aircraft Accident Investigation Course
  • Transportation Safety Institute/FAA Basic Aircraft Accident Investigation Course
  • ARNG Accident Investigation and Analysis Course (Board President’s Course)
  • Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)
  • ARNG Aviation Accident Investigation Exercise (Boneyard)

NTSB Aircraft Accident Investigation Course
This course provides participants with a comprehensive overview of the procedures and methods used and the skills required to investigate an aircraft accident. Examples from recent NTSB investigations are used to demonstrate particular aspects of the investigative process. (8-day Course)

Transportation Safety Institute/FAA Basic Aircraft Accident Investigation Course
This introductory course is designed to train investigators and applicable support personnel in National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, accident reporting forms, and effective management of resources involved in an aircraft accident. Participants will learn fundamental techniques and procedures of field investigations of various accidents and incidents.

This course is vital for flight safety officers and managers, field inspectors, and investigators who may be called to provide assistance in an aircraft accident investigation. The course will examine operational, airworthiness, crashworthiness, human factors, aircraft performance, specific design deficiencies, and lessons learned.

Subject areas include accident photography, witness interviewing, investigator safety, power plant and fire investigations, structures and metallurgy considerations, composite materials, maintenance-related accidents, weather-related accidents and an introduction to helicopter investigations. The course involves a field trip to the TSI laboratory to investigate and evaluate approximately ten aircraft wreckage sites. (5-Day Course)

ARNG Accident Investigation and Analysis Course (Board President’s Course)
This course is designed to introduce the concept plan of the accident investigation process as per DA Pam 385-40. Attendees will review the complete process of accident investigation from the initial notification of the accident, site security, duties and responsibilities of the unit. Students will also review accident investigation board president & team member duties and produce an accident report (Red Book). (5-Day Course)

Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS)
The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) was developed by behavioral scientists in the US Navy. HFACS bridges the gap between theory and practice in a way that helps improve the quantity and quality of information gathered in aviation accidents and incidents. It is designed to look at the accident in a top down process of the organization and the errors in association with the accident. (2-Day Course)

ARNG Aviation Accident Investigation Exercise (Boneyard)
This is a hands-on exercise of an accident investigation where participates/attendees will conduct an Installation Accident Investigation (IAI) as per AR 385-10 and DA Pam 385-40. Course objectives include the construction of a Red Book and formal outbrief. (7-Day Course)

The ARNG frequently supports accident investigations led by the USACRC. In addition, if USACRC defers responsibility to National Guard Bureau (NGB), the Army National Guard Safety & Standardization Branch (ARNG-AVS) recommends investigative personnel to the state army aviation officer (SAAO). Personnel are derived from a roster of graduates from the CAIP to assist in ensuring the most highly qualified experts are available. To date the ARNG has trained over 85 fully certified investigators.

The FAA, NTSB and contractors conduct this training for the ARNG with courses conducted at several locations across the country. Classes are funded and scheduled by ARNG-AVS. Pay, Allowances and TDY is the only cost to the unit. Points of contact for course information and registrations are CW4 John Karmire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or CW4 Ricardo Martinez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Course information is also available on the Guard Knowledge Online Aviation & Ground Safety Calendar at https://gkoportal.ng.mil/arng/G3/D01/B04/S01/SitePages/Safety%20Training%20Links.aspx.

CW5 Michael R. Jewett is the ARNG’s Aviation Standardization Officer and G3 Sr. Warrant Officer Advisor at Army National Guard Aviation and Safety Division, Arlington, VA.CW5 Joseph B. Roland is the chief warrant officer of the Aviation Branch with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL.

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