Aircraft Performance Investigation
(API)

Course Description

It is essential that accident investigators and aircraft safety personnel understand the technology and operation of the aircraft, and how these two disciplines relate to each other in accidents.

This course presents a relatively "low-tech, non-mathematical" introduction to participants who have a varied academic background.

It focuses on, for all flight situations, the knowledge and application of the many technologies that are necessary for the accident investigator to be able to identify, evaluate, correctly interpret and analyze performance accident data. Operation of the aircraft in all phases of ground and flight operation will be covered with special emphasis on how to make it possible for the accident investigator to effectively analyze aircraft performance, control and operational issues. Many different performance and operational issues that are involved in aircraft accidents will be covered.

The participants will be introduced to basic concepts of aircraft performance anomalies and how to recognize them in an accident situation. The emphasis is on recognition of all facets of airplane design, systems, performance and crew operations and how to evaluate the significance of anomalies in an accident investigation. The classroom discussion centers on those aspects of aircraft performance that are known to contribute to aircraft accidents. Issues such as stability and control, handling qualities, stalls, engine failure, landing and takeoff problems, high altitude stalls and upsets, weight and balance, wake vortices, wind shear, system failures, weather, contaminated runways, and icing will be described as well as the accident clues to these factors. The course will draw heavily on accident case studies to illustrate and amplify the subjects under discussion.

Who Should Attend

This course is for investigators and aircraft safety personnel and is designed to be understandable by non engineers. The course is also valuable for engineers as a refresher, or as a means to see how their specialty is involved in aircraft accident investigation.

How You Will Benefit

  • You will learn how to evaluate and analyze data related to a crew related or performance accident.
  • You will learn how to provide data to and communicate with the technical expert in aircraft accident investigation.
  • You will learn the elements of an effective investigator's analysis of accidents.
  • You will use case studies of actual accidents to reinforce and illustrate the subjects covered in the course.
  • The API course is an elective for the Certificate in Aircraft Accident Investigation.

Course Topics

  • Stability and control
  • Aerodynamics
  • Loads
  • Flutter
  • Drag
  • High speed flight
  • Takeoff
  • High altitude operations
  • Landing
  • Cold weather operations
  • Wind shear
  • Performance
  • Spins
  • Wake turbulence
  • Weight and balance

Course Administration

The Aircraft Performance Investigation course consists of 4.5 days (36 hours) of instruction. Students receive a textbook, lecture outlines, additional reference material and a Certificate of Completion. Classes begin daily at 0800 and end at noon on Friday.