19 FEBRUARY 2018
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Academics at Cranfield University have developed the first competency framework for aircraft accident investigators, which aims to distinguish the ‘great’ from the ‘good’ in this highly-specialised and demanding field.
Researchers from the university’s Safety and Accident Investigation Centre analysed tasks typically carried out by investigators and interviewed current post holders to find the qualities of the most effective investigators.
They discovered that, alongside the high level of aviation knowledge and technical skill that is common to all of the incident experts, those working at a high level shared certain other behaviours and abilities that elevated their work above the rest.
The research was carried out by lecturer in human factors Dr Jim Nixon and professor of safety and accident investigation Graham Braithwaite.
Dr Nixon said: “In recruitment, the idea of using someone’s qualifications and experience as evidence of their ability to do a job is well-established. It is now also routine for many recruiters to employ psychometric testing and/or work assessments to differentiate applicants.
"But when it comes to roles like air accident investigation, it can be difficult to articulate what differentiates the ‘great’ from the ‘good’, and how to transition the latter to the former”. He noted the UK’s excellent safety record in aviation, but emphasised that quality still needed investment.
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