Flight Path Analysis

The Aircraft Accident Investigators, at DVI Aviation, understand the techniques needed to reconstruct the flight path of an accident aircraft. The most challenging flight path analysis involves the in-flight break up of an aircraft after a major failure of an airframe structure. When an aircraft does breaks-up in-flight, the investigators need to determine the sequence of parts separation, and they need to determine if the separation occurred before or after the pilot lost control of the aircraft. To answer this question, our aviation experts perform a comprehensive analysis to determine the attitude, altitude, and speed of the aircraft when the in-flight break-up occurred. This analysis includes evaluating the trajectories of the parts that separated in-flight. Our Radar Experts evaluate the radar track data, before and during, the break-up; our Aircraft Wreckage Experts plot the coordinates and elevation of the wreckage on the ground; our Aviation Weather Experts will determine and profile the winds aloft; and our Aerodynamicists will determine the aerodynamic drag signature for each part that separated in flight. The aircraft parts that separated in-flight will each have a unique size, shape, weight, and an assumed tumbling orientation. This collective analysis allows us to reconstruct the accident flight path, determine the circumstances that led to the in-flight breakup, and understand the distribution of wreckage components on the ground.   

Case Study: An Aircraft Engine Failure at Night and a Glide to an Airport

DVI’s Flight Path Reconstruction Expert investigated a case that involved an engine failure that took place at night over a heavily wooded area. DVI’s Metallurgical Expert determined the engine failed because the fuel regulator stem failed due to a fatigue crack. DVI’s Flight Path Reconstruction Expert and Radar Expert evaluated the accident aircraft’s glide performance to various alternate landing areas