Original Date: 01/26/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2003
Information : Analytical Investigation
The Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) Analytical Investigation Branch (AIB) provides the unique service of accident investigation involving rotary wing aircraft and Army fixed wing aircraft. The AIB also investigates crashes involving Navy and Air Force rotary wing aircraft.
The AIB consists of investigators, mechanics, and laboratory personnel (chemist, materials engineer, and materials engineering technician). It is the investigator’s responsibility to lead the process and prepare a report that outlines the investigating team’s findings/conclusions, recommendations, and any material analysis prepared by the laboratory in support of the investigation. The AIB’s workload can be divided into four categories:
Accident Investigation Equipment Inspection Reports (EIRs) failure analysis of Army equipment that malfunctions in the field
Army Oil Analysis Program periodic analysis of oil samples for evidence of wear metals
Engineering Investigations (EIs) failure analysis of Navy and Air Force equipment that malfunctions in the field.
The AIB handles 250 to 300 projects per year. In 1997, the AIB processed 107 EIRs, 77 EIs, 76 Army Oil Analysis Program support items, and 18 major mishaps. Major mishaps are those that require the investigation team to visit the crash site. The AIB’s location at CCAD allows it the unique capability to test components and utilize equipment peculiar to rotary wing aircraft on demand.
The AIB has assisted several government agencies, including the National Aeronautical & Space Administration, with accident investigation and failure analysis by assisting with the investigation of the Challenger mishap. The AIB has also assisted the Federal Aviation Administration, the Border Patrol, the Forestry Service, and the State Department, and has investigated mishaps involving ground vehicles, particularly the M1A1 tank and the Civilian Utility Transportation Vehicle.
The AIB has begun to take several steps to automate the investigation process as much as possible:
Each investigator has been equipped with a laptop computer which has reduced the time required to complete a field investigation from 14 to 10 days. Purchase of an optical jukebox which allows archiving old files on CD-ROMs improving search capability.
Plans to establish a web-based database allowing investigators to access data files from remote sites.
An initiative to put a field workbook containing information on each aircraft onto a CD- ROM, which will allow the investigators to take the information to the crash site. The goal is to have a CD-ROM for each aircraft and engine. The CD-ROM for the Apache has been completed.
The AIB has established itself as the Department of Defense (DoD) expert in analysis of mishaps and failures of rotary wing aircraft and components.
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