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This material is
© 1998 by the International Society of Air Safety Investigators
Reproduced by permission

Contact: International Society of Air Safety Investigators
107 E. Holly Avenue, Suite #11
Sterling, VA 20164
Telephone (US) (703) 430 9668 Fax (703) 450 1745



As noted in the ISASI Bylaws, the purpose of the Society is "To promote the development and improvement of aviation or incident accident investigation". Implicit therein is a requirement for a baseline of agreement between the Members and the Society as to what constitutes professional behavior of the Members. Indeed, under the Bylaws, the Member covenants to support provisions of the Bylaws as a prerequisite to membership in the Society.

Therefore, as an Appendix to the Bylaws, this Code of Ethics and Conduct reflects behavior expected of ISASI Members. It has been prepared and adopted with the full realization that determination of the adherence or lack of adherence to these principles is a matter of judgment; judgment which can only be effected reasonably by peer review. Procedures governing adjudication of alleged violations of this Code are the responsibility of the Ethics and Conduct Committee as approved by the Executive Committee of the Society.

The Code has distinguished five Ethics and numerous related items of Conduct contained thereunder. Ethics are the axiomatic and aspirational major principles shown both on a separate page and as general headings in the Code of Conduct. They are broad goals towards which accident investigators "should" strive.

The Code of Conduct is phrased in "shall" terms of expected Member behavior. The items constitute minimum levels of conduct which, if violated, constitute potential grounds for disciplinary action by the Society. Such disciplinary action can include expulsion from the Society.

It is recognized that provisions of this code will not apply to all Members during the totality of their work activities. However, insofar as investigations are conducted for safety purposes, and this Code does not conflict with other codes of professional behavior, Members are expected to adhere to the ISASI Code.

It is also recognized that operative words or phrases describing expected Member conduct are appropriate only if feasibility is assumed under the existent circumstances. Such an interpretation should be applied throughout this Code.

This Code has been adopted by the International Council. Recognizing the desirability of membership input to this Code, the Ethics and Conduct Committee shall report to the International Council annually the receipt of any suggestions for modifications of the Code and their recommendations therefor. Thus, the membership is encouraged to communicate with the Ethics and Conduct Committee in these matters.

"Accident or incident investigation" has been interpreted by the ISASI International Council as pertaining to all safety-related occurrences which may or may not meet damage/injury criteria required for formal designation as an accident. Wherever "accident" is used in this Code, it shall be considered as also including safety-relevent incidents meriting professional investigation.



Each Member should at all times conduct his activities in accordance with the high standards of integrity required of his profession.


Each Member should respect and adhere to the principles on which ISASI was founded and developed, as illustrated by the Society’s Bylaws.


Each Member should lend emphasis to objective determination of facts during investigations.


Each Member should develop all accident cause-effect relationships meaningful to air safety based upon logical application of facts.


Each member should apply facts and analyses to develop findings and recommendations that will improve aviation safety.




Each Member should at all times conduct his activities in accordance with the high standards of integrity required of his profession. Each Member shall:

1.1 Not attempt, or assist others to attempt, to falsify, conceal or destroy any facts or evidence which may relate to an accident.

1.2 Not make any misrepresentations of fact to obtain information that would otherwise be denied to him.

1.3 Be responsive to the feelings, sensibilities and emotions of involved persons, and shall avoid actions which might aggravate what may already be a delicate situation.

1.4 Not divulge fragmentary or unsupported information concerning the accident to parties external to the investigation no matter how publicly important such parties may appear to be.

1.5 Avoid actions or comments which might be reasonably perceived during the fact-finding phase of the investigation as favoring one party or another.

1.6 Establish and adhere to the chain of authority with attendant responsibilities throughout the course of the investigation.

1.7 Not attempt to profit, nor accept profit, other than by normal processes of remuneration for professional services. (Note: Fee-splitting in the absence of actual work performed or acceptance of contingency fees for investigative activity are not acceptable conduct.)

1.8 Remain open-minded to the introduction of new evidence or opinions as to interpretation of facts as determined through analysis, and be willing to revise one’s own findings accordingly.

1.9 Avoid any implication of professional impropriety by continuously applying the foregoing principles to one’s own endeavors, and encouraging the application of these same principles to others associated with air safety investigation.


Each Member should respect and adhere to the principles on which ISASI was founded and developed, as illustrated by the Society’s Bylaws. Each Member shall:

2.1 Promote accident investigation as a fundamental element in accident prevention and encourage others to do the same.

2.2 Assist other Members to carry out their accident investigation tasks.

2.3 Not use membership status to effect personal gain or favor beyond signifying qualification to published membership criteria.

2.4 Not represent the Society or imply a position of the Society in public utterances on any issue unless prior written authority has been received from the Society President.

2.5 Seek advice of the International Council–via the Secretary–in the event a situation arises where contemplated conduct by the Member may violate the Bylaws or Code of Ethics and Conduct of the Society.

2.6 Submit evidence of violations of the ISASI Bylaws or this Code to the Society’s Ethics and Conduct Committee in accordance with procedures approved by the International Council, and refrain from public discussion of the alleged violation until the committee findings have become a matter of appropriate record.

2.7 Encourage uninhibited, informal interchange of views among Members; however, any sensitive information thus gained shall not be made public or transmitted to others without clear approval of the person from whom the information was gained.

2.8 Have an obligation to improve the professional image of the Society; however, Members shall:

2.8.1 Refrain from unfounded criticism of officers of the Society either publicly or privately unless the matter is investigated thoroughly and brought to the attention of the President with reasonable time being allocated to review the situation and act accordingly.

2.8.2 Refrain from public criticism of any fellow Member unless that individual has first been apprised of the alleged basis for that criticism and given an opportunity for rebuttal.

2.9 Encourage and participate in the education, training and indoctrination of personnel likely to become involved actively in accident investigation.

2.10 Develop and implement a personal program for a continually improving level of professional knowledge applicable to air safety investigation.

2.11 Transfer promptly to the Treasurer of the Society any Society funds or property coming into the Member’s possession unless specific use thereof has been authorized under the Bylaws.


Each Member should lend emphasis to objective determination of facts during investigations. Each member shall:

3.1 Ensure that all items presented as facts reflect honest perceptions or physical evidence that have been checked insofar as practicable for accuracy.

3.2 Ensure that each item of information leading to fact determination be documented or otherwise identified for a reasonable time for possible followup by others.

3.3 Use the best available expertise and equipment in determining the validity of information.

3.4 Pursue fact determination expeditiously.

3.5 Following all avenues of fact determination which appear to have practical value towards achieving accident prevention action.

3.6 Avoid speculation except in the sense of presenting a hypothesis for testing during the fact-finding and analysis process.

3.7 Refrain from release of factual information publicly except to authorized persons, by authorized methods and then only when it does not jeopardize the overall investigation.

3.8 Handle with discretion any information reflecting adversely on persons or organizations and, when the information is reasonably established, notify such persons or organizations of potential criticism before it becomes a matter of public record.

4. LOGIC..

Each Member should develop all accident cause-effect relationships meaningful to air safety based on logical application of facts. Each Member shall:

4.1 Begin sufficiently upstream in each sequence of events so as to ascertain practicable accident prevention information.

4.2 Continue downstream in a sequence of events sufficiently to include not only accident prevention information but also crash injury prevention, search and survival inforamtion.

4.3 Ensure that all safety-meaningful facts, however small, are related to all sequences of events.

4.4 Delineate those major facts deemed not to be safety-related, explaining why they should not be considered as critical in the sequences of events.

4.5 Be particularly alert to value judgments based upon personal experiences which may influence the analysis; and where suspect, turn to colleagues for independent assessment of the facts.

4.6 Express the sequences in simple, clear terms which may be understood by persons not specializing in a particular discipline.

4.7 Include specialist material supporting the analysis either in an appendix or as references clearly identified as to source and availability.

4.8 Prepare illustrative material and select photographs so as not to present misleading significance of the data or facts thus portrayed.

4.9 List all documents examined or otherwise associated with the analysis and include an index thereof.


Each Member should apply facts and analyses to develop findings and recommendations that will improve aviation safety. Each Member shall:

5.1 Identify from the investigation those cause-effect relationships about which something can be done reasonably to prevent similar accidents.

5.2 Document those aviation system shortcomings learned during an investigation which, while not causative in the accident in question, are hazards requiring further study and/or remedial action.

5.3 Communicate facts, analyses and findings to those people or organizations which may use such information effectively; such communication to be constrained only by established policies and procedures of the employer of the Member.

5.4 Provide specific, practical recommendations for remedial action when supported by the findings of the accident having been investigated singly or as supported by other cases.

5.5 Communicate the above noted information in writing, properly identified as a matter of record.

5.6 Encourage retention of relevent investigation evidence within the aviation system in such a manner as to form an effective baseline for further investigation of the given accident and/or facilitate analysis in connection with future accidents.

5.7 Demonstrate a respect for interpretation of facts by others when developing conclusions regarding a given accident and provide reasonable opportunity for such views to be made known during the course of the investigation.