Aircraft Accident Investigator

Uncover the cause of airplane crashes.
picture of Aircraft Accident Investigator

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Aircraft Accident Investigators do?

Accidents happen. It’s an Aircraft Accident Investigator’s job to see that they don’t happen again. When a plane crashes, the Aircraft Accident Investigator is one of the first on the scene, along with rescuers and Emergency Medical Technicians. After survivors are taken to safety, the Aircraft Accident Investigator starts examining the crash itself to find out what went wrong.

As an Aircraft Accident Investigator, you typically work in a government or military agency. You have thorough knowledge of airplanes and engineering along with safety procedures. Detail-oriented and calm under pressure, you make notes of the plane’s equipment and review its maintenance logs.

Once the wreckage itself is examined and cleaned up, you interview survivors and witnesses. You also review written logs or recorded readings from the plane to look for clues. It’s up to you to determine whether mechanical or human error — or a combination of both — caused the crash.

Due to the unpredictable nature of crashes, you’re on call all hours of the day. Airplane crashes are infrequent, but when one does occur, you may have to travel long distances, hike into swamplands, or travel up mountains to reach the wreckage. Investigations can run longer than a typical eight-hour day, but when you’re not investigating, you can keep normal hours in your office. Crashes are never a fun matter to discuss, but without your work, they would happen far more often.

Should I be an Aircraft Accident Investigator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Car Accident Investigator

    How to Become an
    Aircraft Accident Investigator

    Aircraft Accident Investigators often have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:9sbtaa&chl=no+college+%2841%25%29|certificate+%2812%25%29|associate%27s+%2818%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2830%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,41,41
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