Ministry of Civil Aviation and Successors: Accidents Investigation Branch Case Files (EW/A-F Series)
The records concern the investigation of accidents involving civil aircraft under the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations of 1909. The series contains selected case files relating to the investigation of individual air accidents.
The majority of files selected deal with major accidents or accidents involving significant aircraft types or prototypes, or contain significant recommendations for future practice.
With the exception of EWF, the third letter of the prefix indicates the type of investigation involved as follows:
- EWA overseas, British-registered aircraft
- EWB overseas, foreign-registered aircraft
- EWC civil aircraft, UK
- EWD military aircraft
- EWE combined civil/military
EWF was used, regardless of the type of investigation, to indicate a file containing correspondence with interested parties. Typically, the term 'interested parties' refers to relatives of the deceased or their representatives
The files are arranged in previous reference order within each accession.
Department of Trade and Industry, Accidents Investigation Branch, 1970-1974
Department of Trade, Accidents Investigation Branch, 1974-1983
Ministry of Aviation, Accidents Investigation Branch, 1959-1967
Ministry of Civil Aviation, Accidents Investigation Branch, 1946-1953
Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Accidents Investigation Branch, 1953-1959
The Accidents Investigation Branch was created in 1915 as part of the Royal Flying Corps. In 1918 a Department of Civil Aviation was set up in the Air Ministry to which the Accidents Investigation Branch became a constituent part thereof, being concerned with both civil and military air accidents.
In 1946 the Accidents Investigation Branch became part of the new Ministry of Civil Aviation (which was amalgamated with the Ministry of Transport in 1953 to form the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation). It continued to assist the Royal Air Force with accident investigations.
In 1959 the work of the branch was transferred to a new Ministry of Aviation and then in 1966 to the Board of Trade, which was renamed the Department of Trade and Industry in 1970 and (temporarily) the Department of Trade in 1974. On the re-amalgamation of the Departments of Trade and Industry in 1983 the branch was transferred to the Department of Transport, where it remains. In November 1987 its name was changed to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
In 1997 the Branch came under the control of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions where it continues to carry out its business.
AAIB's main task is to investigate all accidents to civil aircraft in the UK in order to determine the circumstances and causes with a view to the prevention of similar accidents in the future. As well as having this responsibility, AAIB may also participate in overseas investigations when a British-registered or British-manufactured aircraft is involved, and they participate in the investigation of accidents to military aircraft at the request of the Ministry of Defence. In addition, AAIB receives many requests for assistance from foreign countries.
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