LT Gary A. Phillips
Figure 6-8.­Crew members aboard the USS Forrestal fight fire on the flight deck.
to some degree, and with the cost of equipment rising
steadily, the loss of one of our first-line aircraft
represents a serious loss to the Navy and to the national
Aircraft accident investigation is one of the
fundamental elements in a program for the improvement
of aviation safety. Photography plays a major role in an
aircraft accident investigation. The evidence obtained
through photographs will help determine steps to
prevent similar occurrences.
To make the most useful photographs, you must
clearly understand the purpose of photography in an
aircraft accident investigation. It is NOT to assess
blame, nor is it solely to establish a single or primary
cause factor. Few accidents result from a single cause.
In most of the accidents, a sequence of events occurs.
The elimination of any one of these events may have
prevented the accident. Therefore, to prevent future
occurrences, you must consider all possible cause
factors and photograph them, if possible. An incomplete
photographic record of the investigation may result in
erroneous conclusions and nullify the only possible
benefit that could have been derived from a costly
accident. The photography surrounding an aircraft
accident is a methodical accumulation of small bits and
pieces of information that eventually form a pattern. The
wreckage itself may contain valuable evidence that, if
correctly photographed, may provide these certain cause
Successful aircraft accident photographers have
certain essential characteristics in common. You must
apply the following essentials of good aircraft accident
photography to your work:
1. Promptness-Get to the scene of the accident
immediately-before the evidence is disturbed.
2. Thoroughness-Photograph all evidence in
minute detail. Operate on the assumption that there is no
limit to the amount of photography justified to prevent
the recurrence of one aircraft accident or the loss of one
3. Organization-Conduct a planned photographic

Basic Photography Course

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