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Witness Interview Techniques in Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation (Classroom, 5 days)

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Improve your skills and techniques when obtaining safety information directly from individuals or groups or when taking part in an investigation into an aviation incident or accident.

Available as: Classroom & In-Company course
Duration: 5 days (40 hours)
Recommended level: Professional and Management
Prerequisites: None

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What you will learn

Upon completing this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the roles of the interviewer and witness 
  • Understand the principles of communication to overcome common obstacles 
  • Manage inter-personal and intra-personal responses
  • Interpret verbal and non-verbal communication 
  • Acquire a general methodology for interviews
  • Perform interviewing and flashback techniques through practical exercises in the classroom


Course content


  • Characteristics of a witness 
  • Characteristics of an interviewer

Principles of communication

  • Transmission channel theory 
  • Personal aspects: cognitive, affective, conative and physical characteristics of a witness 
  • Communication levels: instrumental, incidentals, consumable 
  • Obstacles to the communications: individual background references and values, social distance 
  • Managing inter-personal and intra-personal responses 
  • Psychological field of operation 
  • Recognizing and managing communication styles 
  • Principles of transactions. 

Non-verbal communication

  • Territory, zones, distances
  • Body language and facial expressions 
  • Concordance and discordance

General methodology of an interview

  • Types of interviews 
  • Getting ready 
  • First contact 
  • Listen and learn: facilitation techniques, how to cope with silences 
  • Dialogue management: Flashback techniques, how to ask questions 
  • Successful separation 

Practical interview exercises 

  • Video-taped role playing: Investigation of an incident, based upon the collection of information from a variety of witnesses 
  • Practicing the adjustment to the witness personally and communication style 
  • Paying attention to voice intonations, facial expressions, body language, silences and interruptions 
  • Practicing flashback techniques and questioning to support the dialogue


Who should attend

Personnel involved in the aviation Safety Management System (SMS) who:

  • Need to obtain safety information directly from individuals or from groups
  • Take part in aviation incident or accident investigations

Certificate awarded

An IATA Certificate of Completion is awarded to participants obtaining a grade of 70% or higher on all exercises and exams. A special distinction is awarded to participants obtaining a grade of 90% or higher.

This course is a step toward earning an IATA Diploma in:

Additional information

About IATA Classroom Training
We train more than 10,000 aviation professionals annually through our global network of IATA Training Centers, Regional Training Partners, and in private in-company sessions. Our 200+ classroom courses are developed using IATA’s unique industry insight and delivered by IATA Instructors, experts in their fields. More

Further training
Graduates of this course can apply for the Harvard ManageMentor (HMM) distance learning program at a special graduate price.

Subject areas

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Additional information

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