I already asked the question, but while I was writing it I had some reservations about how topical it is.

To be fair, accident investigation is a critical part of the airline industry, which is a major part of aviation. So I feel like it is within scope. That being said, I could see arguments that I might be better served on a chemistry, physics or (if we have it) forensics stack.



3 Answers 3


Aviation accidents in general are on topic and generate a lot of interest here, therefore investigating them is too.

I assume most people would agree that some things are unique to aviation accident investigations: interpreting FDR and CVR data; using radar tracks and ATC recordings; identifying flight attitude and direction based on impact patterns etc. There shouldn't be any problem with accepting questions about those areas.

On the other hand, there are also plenty of questions that aren't unique to aviation investigations: how can a pathology lab determine if a pilot/driver was intoxicated at the time of death; can an autopsy accurately determine cardiac failure (followed by loss of control) as a cause of death; how can an autopsy tell that a pilot/driver died in the post-crash fire and not because of the initial impact etc.

My opinion is that we should allow and even encourage questions about accident investigation - accident reports are very educational reading for pilots and others - and only close them if the question is generic and not specifically about aviation. I think it's better to encourage a topic and deal with the exceptions rather than discourage a topic to avoid dealing with the exceptions.


Yes. I agree that they are not only on-topic, but they also provide very valuable knowledge about workings of different airplane parts and devices.

We have several tags (, ) related to accidents and their investigation. I guess the most popular investigation related question revolve around black boxes ( and ).

At present, their are 18 questions related to MH370. Most of them are actually very nice.


I am a (slightly) dissenting opinion here. I would say: Maybe.

A question that deals with, asks about, some part of the investigation, which is unequivocally unique with respect to aviation, I would agree is on topic.


  1. Questions about the "black boxes" being recovered from airliner accidents, or not.
  2. Questions about how an investigation might be conducted when all pieces were: underwater, vaporized, etc.

A question that asks about things which are not aviation-related, but rather part of any accident investigation, I'm not so sure I agree are on topic.


  1. How is chain-of-evidence maintained when...
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yeah, I can kind of understand that nuance. That's certainly very close to "the line"... Case by case basis I guess, eh? $\endgroup$
    – Jae Carr
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 18:53

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