NOTE: This manual is a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) staff product and is intended to provide information and guidance to NTSB employees who are involved in organizing and conducting investigations. This manual has not been adopted by the NTSB Board Members, is not regulatory in nature, is not a binding statement of policy, and is not all-inclusive.
The recommended procedures are not intended to become obligations of the NTSB or to create any rights in any of the parties to an NTSB investigation. Deviation from the guidance offered in this manual will at times be necessary to meet the specific needs of an investigation. However, such deviations from the guidance offered in this manual shall be within the sole discretion of the appropriate NTSB employees and shall not be the prerogative of parties to the investigation or other individuals not employed by the NTSB.
The procedures in this NTSB Aviation Investigation Manual—Major Team Investigations apply to “Go Team” investigations of major aviation accidents. An investigation of this type could involve more than 100 technical specialists, representing as many as a dozen parties and multiple Federal and local government agencies.
This manual provides general information to assist the investigator-in-charge (IIC), group chairmen, and others who may participate in a major aviation accident investigation. It is intended to provide guidance on the process of conducting a major investigation, from initial notification to the adoption of the final report, probable cause, and recommendations by the Members of the Safety Board.
Although this publication includes some technical information related to investigative activities in major aviation accidents, it is primarily intended to provide guidance of a procedural or administrative nature. Investigators should refer to Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for procedural references and to the ICAO Manual of Aircraft Accident Investigation for technical information and examples of investigative techniques. Other sources, such as military investigation manuals, can also be used to supplement information in the NTSB’s Aviation Investigation Manual.